WHAT WORKS IN SCHOOLS is an approach to school-based health from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program has been shown to improve health behaviors and experiences, support mental health and reduce suicidality in the schools that implement the program.
CDC’S school-based program includes:
- School Connectedness and Risk Behaviors and Experiences Among High School Students
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey Among High School Students, United States, 2021
The program works by:
- improving health education,
- connecting young people to the health services they need, and
- making school environments safer and more supportive
2. Health Education
3. Health Services
4. Safe and Supportive Environments
5. Research and Results
6. Program Success Stories
The Critical Role of Schools
The critical role of schools is emphasized by CDC in promoting students’ health and development by creating environments where all students feel they are cared for, supported and belong.
1. Schools can help youth feel more connected through:
- Classroom Management
- LGBTQ+ Inclusive Practices
- Positive Youth Development Programs
2. What Works In Schools?
- The approach to school-based health has been shown to improve health behaviours and experiences, support mental health and reduce suicidality in schools that implement the program.
The program works by:
- Improving health education
- Connecting young people to the health services they need, and
- Making school environments safer and more supportive
Youth Risk Behavior Survey
Also of value is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted during the COVID pandemic. Nationally representative data from the 2021 was used to estimate the prevalence of students’ perception of school connectedness and to examine associations between seven risk behaviours and experiences: poor mental health, marijuana use, prescriptive opioid misuse, sexual intercourse, unprotected sex, experiencing forced sex, and missing school because of feeling unsafe. The results are outlined on the website and PDFs are provided.
Methods used in the research are outlined, there is also Discussion, Limitations and Future Directions, and Conclusion.
The findings highlight the importance of school-based strategies that strengthen school connectedness and protect against multiple adolescent health risks.
School programs and practices that promote safe and supportive environments and foster inclusion (e.g. GSAs, multicultural groups and inclusivity training for staff members) might play an important role in improving school connectedness among all youths, including racial and ethnic and sexual identity minority adolescents.