Are school-based mental health interventions for war-affected children effective and harmless?
Department of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Bielefeld University, Post BOX: 100131, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany
BMC Medicine 2014, 12:84 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-84Published: 21 May 2014
In recent years, different approaches to large-scale mental health service provision for children in war-affected, mainly low- and middle-income, countries have been developed. Some school-based programs aiming at both strengthening resilience and reducing symptoms of trauma-related distress have been evaluated. In an article published in BMC Medicine, Tol and colleagues integrate their findings of the efficacy of universal school-based intervention across four countries and do not recommend classroom-based intervention as a treatment of trauma-related symptoms, since no consistent positive effects were found. On the contrary, for some children this type of universal intervention may impair recovery. Since universal school-based programs similar to the one evaluated here are widely implemented, Tol et al.’s results are highly relevant to inform the field of mental health service provision in war-affected countries.