Mental health is a critical and pervasive issue for children and adolescents in the United States, with one in five youth living with a diagnosable mental health condition (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Despite the increasing rates of mental health disorders, barriers to treatment are abundant and most young people do not receive appropriate treatment (Merikangas, 2009). Mental health literacy is the knowledge and beliefs surrounding mental health that guide recognition, management, and prevention (Jorm, 1997, p. 143). Mental health literacy is a particularly important framework for youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds as they face increased vulnerabilities to mental health distress and barriers to treatment (World Health Organization, 2017). The aim of the present study was to investigate if an after school mental health literacy intervention changed adolescents' self-reported measures of mental health knowledge, mental health stigma, help-seeking, and hope across three waves of data collection: wave one (immediately before the intervention), wave two (immediately after the intervention), and wave three (one month post-intervention) as measured by: (a) Mental Health Knowledge and Attitude Survey [MHKAS] (Kutcher, McLuckie, & Weaver, 2014), (b) General Help Seeking Questionnaire [GHSQ] (Wilson, Deane, Ciarrochi, & Rickwood, 2005) 2005), (c) Children's Hope Scale [CHS] (Snyder et al., 1997).; and Self-Stigma of Mental Illness-Short Form [SSMIS-SF] (Corrigan et al., 2012). Main findings of the investigation included a significant difference for multivariate analysis between wave one and wave two (Pillai's Trace = .546, F(4, 56) = 16.816, p < .001, partial ƞ2 = .546). There was a statistically significant positive change in mental health knowledge (p < .001; d = 1.992) and help-seeking attitudes (p = .025; d = .934) and a significant negative change in personal mental health stigma (p < .001; d =.582) across wave one and wave two. There was no statistically significant change in hope (p = .904; d = .000) across wave one and wave two. Moreover, there was a statistically significant change from wave one to wave three for multivariate within subjects analysis (Pillai's Trace = .604, F(4, 27) = 10.297, p < .001, partial ƞ2 = .604), indicating changes were maintained at one-month follow-up. Specifically, there was a statistically significant positive change in mental health knowledge (p < .001, d = 1.960) and help-seeking attitudes (p = .007; d = 1.210) and a significant decrease in mental health stigma (p = .002; d = 1.210). There was no significant change in measures of hope from wave one to wave three (p = .467; d = .271). Results of the study are reviewed and compared to similar studies. The researcher discusses implications of findings for counseling, counselor education, and public policy.


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Graduation Date





Barden, Sejal


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


School of Teacher Education

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education









Release Date

May 2019

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)