Background: While the incidence and prevalence rates of mental health concerns and diagnoses are increasing and have been exacerbated in some ways since the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of mental health care in regards to access, quality, and effectiveness remains immensely inadequate This inadequacy imposes an inequitable health burden on those within marginalized communities. In order to better understand such concern and important solutions, this rapid review aimed to carefully select and assess the current literature on culturally representative school-based therapy and its effectiveness on youth. Culturally representative therapy aims to implement ethnic representation within clinical spaces and has been shown to improve health outcomes, reduce health disparities and allow patients to feel more comfortable.
Methods: A literature review was done in January 2021 utilizing both PubMed and PsycINFO. In a process modeled after the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a total of 846 studies, managed in RefWorks from both databases, were screened by their title and abstracts, 23 were screened by the entire article, and 18 were excluded, resulting in five selected studies. Studies were excluded if they did not meet the inclusion criteria. Studies were included if the intervention implemented school-based mental health care that was culturally representative of their youth population, with youth defined as individuals who attend school, ages ranging from 3 to 21.
Results: Of the five studies selected, each study was summarized in order to assess and analyze the research question proposed within this rapid review, which was the effectiveness of school-based culturally representative therapy on youth. All five of the articles reported a reduction in assessed symptomology with the use of their culturally representative therapy. While all groups demonstrated an effectiveness of culturally tailored therapy, one study presented with results that are inconclusive as both the intervention and non-intervention group had a reduction in anxiety.
Conclusion: This review demonstrates an importance for culturally representative therapy that takes place in school-based settings. There is a gap within the literature centering culturally representative school-based programs and their effectiveness. Further research on the effectiveness of such interventions will allow for an expansion of important programs centering culturally representative therapy within the United States. The future research aims should look to assess culture in regards to eclectic socioeconomic, language, ethnic, religious, and demographical backgrounds. This review highlights solutions to the current public health crisis of mental health outcomes and mental health care in the United States, specifically ways in which policy and legislation can be implemented, using such research to improve access to quality care and emphasize a need for cultural representation within provided care.
Matoke, Janita A., "Assessing the Impact of Culturally Representative School-Based Therapy on Youth Mental Health" (2022). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 455.