The program evaluation of 'Go-To Educator Training' on educators' knowledge about and stigma toward mental illness in six Canadian provinces

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2021 Aug;15(4):922-931. doi: 10.1111/eip.13037. Epub 2020 Sep 7.


Aim: Schools are well positioned to promote mental health literacy and assist in the early identification of students who may have a mental disorder. However, many educators are unprepared to effectively address these issues. Enhancing this capacity may improve mental health outcomes for students. This report describes the application of a gatekeeper-type program, the 'Go-To Educator Training' (GTET), targeting educators whom students naturally gravitate toward for support, designed to improve educators' mental health knowledge and early identification skills and decrease stigma.

Methods: GTET was conducted in six Canadian provinces (Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Alberta and Manitoba) (2012-2015), with 949 secondary school educators involved. Pre- and postintervention mental health knowledge and stigma surveys were completed. Paired t-tests assessed change in knowledge and stigma. ANCOVA compared knowledge and stigma change across subgroups. Correlation measured the relationship between knowledge and stigma.

Results: Knowledge significantly improved (t[919] = 58.40, P < .001, d = 2.12) and stigma significantly decreased (t[872] = 4.52, P < .001, d = 0.14). Similar results were identified within each province/region. Knowledge and stigma were correlated before (N = 922, r = .18, P < .01) and after the training (N = 888, r = .22, P < .01).

Conclusions: These results suggest GTET may be an effective school-based mental health related intervention. Further study is needed to measure its long-term impact and its role in addressing youth mental health care referrals.

Keywords: Go-To Educators; adolescents; mental health knowledge; stigma; students; teachers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mental Health
  • Ontario
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Stigma*