Topic: Mental Health Prevention and/or Early Intervention (Child & Adolescent) Programs

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Mental Health Prevention and/or Early Intervention (Child & Adolescent) Programs:

Mental Health Prevention and/or Early Intervention (Child & Adolescent) Programs are defined by the CEBC as 1) universal prevention programs which are designed to prevent mental health problems from occurring for the first time in children and adolescents, or 2) selective prevention programs targeted at individuals or families who are at high risk for mental health problems to either prevent mental health problems from occurring or to intervene early to reduce clinical-level problems. Mental Health Prevention and/or Early Intervention (Child & Adolescent) Programs differ in terms of timing and may target different age groups. These programs may occur in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, other community settings, and health care settings. Mental Health Prevention and/or Early Intervention programs may also be delivered in group or individual settings, as well as self-administered through online delivery or apps.

  • Target population: Children and adolescents
  • Services/types that fit: Outpatient services (either individual or group), community or school-based interventions, and self-administered programs, including online delivery or apps; services can target the child alone, work with the child and/or their caregivers, or target the entire family.
  • Delivered by: Child and family serving professionals, educators, mental health providers, physicians, community-based organizations, parents and caregivers, nonprofessional helpers, mentors, self-help supporters and organizations, and advocacy organizations
  • In order to be included: Program must specify the prevention of mental health problems or disorders or early intervention in the development of mental health disorders as a goal.
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines mental health-related outcomes, such as child and/or adolescent symptom levels, behaviors, and/or functioning; or mental health prevention-related outcomes, such as child and/or adolescent knowledge and/or preventative behavior.

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

Two Programs with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:

One Program with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

  • Blues Program
    Adolescents ages 13-19 with elevated depressive symptoms

Four Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:


Topic Expert

Irwin Sandler, PhD, Regents Professor Emeritus and Research Professor
Department of Psychology at Arizona State University and REACH Institute
Tempe, AZ