Integration of Mental Health and Resilience Building Programs in Secondary Schools of Kyrgyzstan
Purpose The prevalence of mental illnesses amongst children and adolescents is an increasing global challenge. Schools have been positioned at the forefront of promoting positive mental health and wellbeing through implementing evidence-based interventions. The aim of this dissertation is to review current evidence-based research on mental health interventions in schools and examine their reported effectiveness to identify those interventions that can inform policy and ensure that appropriate programs are culturally accepted and adapted to the local context in Kyrgyzstan. Methodology The literature on school mental health and resilience building programs was reviewed. Three major databases, namely Psychology Database ProQuest, PsycINFO and CIHAL, were utilised to identify the relevant literature. Initial searches identified 30 articles reporting on mental health and resilience building interventions in schools. When mapped against the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 17 studies were included and explored. Results The findings of the studies reviewed indicate that school-based mental health and resilience building interventions are necessary and can benefit school children in enhancing their emotional and social competence, which will contribute to their overall resilience in life. Design, development and programming of these interventions had a great impact on their effectiveness. Conclusions School-based universal prevention programs have the potential to reach a large number of children and adolescents, particularly those who are significantly financially disadvantaged, have fewer social emotional resources, and are underserved. Integration of school mental health interventions for adolescents in Kyrgyzstan should be an urgent matter for politicians and policymakers given the high rate of violence and abuse against children. According to UNICEF Kyrgyzstan, 73 percent of children suffer from abuse and neglect in families and 83 percent of children face violence in school (UNICEF, 2010; UNICEF, 2011).