Evidence-Based Mental Health Programs in Schools: Barriers and Facilitators of Successful Implementation

School Ment Health. 2010 Sep;2(3):105-113. doi: 10.1007/s12310-010-9038-1. Epub 2010 May 11.


Although schools can improve children's access to mental health services, not all school-based providers are able to successfully deliver evidence-based practices. Indeed, even when school clinicians are trained in evidence-based practices (EBP), the training does not necessarily result in the implementation of those practices. This study explores factors that influence implementation of a particular EBP, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS). Semi-structured telephone interviews with 35 site administrators and clinicians from across the United States were conducted 6-18 months after receiving CBITS training to discuss implementation experiences. The implementation experiences of participants differed, but all reported similar barriers to implementation. Sites that successfully overcame such barriers differed from their unsuccessful counterparts by having greater organizational structure for delivering school services, a social network of other clinicians implementing CBITS, and administrative support for implementation. This study suggests that EBP implementation can be facilitated by having the necessary support from school leadership and peers.