School-Based Mental Health Literacy Educational Interventions in Adolescents: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Student Research Committee, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran;

2 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Faculty of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background and Objective: Poor mental health literacy is a major obstacle to seeking help for mental health problems in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of school-based educational interventions on improving mental health literacy (MHL) in adolescents.
Materials and Methods: In this study, a search was conducted in Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Irandoc, Magiran, and SID databases in both Persian and English language for studies published from 2011 to 2021. The keywords "adolescent", "mental health literacy", "depression literacy", "intervention", "education", and "high school" were searched in both languages. Out of 191 articles extracted and finally, 6 articles were included in this study.
Results: The results of the study conducted in Norway showed that the individual’s health literacy who participated in the all "Mental Health" program was significantly increased compared to those in the control group; findings of a study conducted in Australia reported that MHL in the intervention group was significantly higher than the control group after intervention (P <0.05). But, attitudes toward seeking help did not change. A Canadian study indicated that the mental health curriculum significantly increased mental health knowledge and reduced mental tagging (P <0.001); furthermore, an Iranian study demonstrated that the mean score of MHL in the intervention group was significantly increased compared to the control group after the educational intervention (P <0.001). In the study, which was conducted in the US, depressive literacy in the intervention group was significantly increased 4 months after the intervention. However, results of one study showed that education intervention is more effective than contact based intervention with an ill person (P <0.001).
Conclusion: Evidence highlights that although studies have used a variety of methods for adolescent mental health literacy interventions in schools, all studies have had a positive effect on mental health literacy. Given that studies used self-report assessment to measure MHL outcomes. Thus, confirmation of these findings with objective tools is still needed.


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