The article “The critical role of school psychology in the school mental health movement” by Splett, Fowler, Weist, McDaniel, & Dvorsky (2013) was published in Psychology in the Schools journal. It is concerned with the subject of school mental health (SMH) programs and their implementation.
The authors describe the role that school psychologists play in providing SMH services for the population, and examine the training and professional development chances that exist for them today. The authors also argue that it would be beneficial to increase the significance of the role of school psychologists in providing SMH, analyze the currently existing obstacles to this, and offer a number of recommendations that could help to achieve this result.
Splett et al. (2008) do not provide a description of the methodology that was employed during their research. Still, it is evident that the authors carried out a literature review and analysis in order to produce the article in question. The claim that increasing the role of school psychologists in SMH can yield significant positive results and should be carried out might be considered the thesis statement of the article.
The authors support it by analyzing the role that school psychologists play today as a matter of fact, the role that they ought to play according to the standards of the National Association for School Psychologists, and the existing need for SMH services among the population.
The authors also supply a number of recommendations that could be implemented in order to help increase the role of school psychologists in SMH.
It is proposed to enroll more university and college students who are interested in offering SMH, provide them with a continuum of courses on SMH, encourage specialization in SMH, integrate SMH practices into field experiences on an international level, encourage collaboration between schools and various community institutions, emphasize the importance of SMH (in particular, by organizing public relations campaigns), and provide training opportunities for professionals.
Strengths and Weaknesses
To mention some of the strengths of the article, it should be pointed out that the authors performed a thorough research into the topic and analyzed a large amount of scholarly literature related to the issue, as well as various standards and recommendations that apply to providing SMH. Another positive aspect of the research is that the authors not only analyze the current situation but also offer a number of recommendations that could help to improve it.
As for the weak sides of the article, it might be pointed out that the authors did not mention what methodology they used for the research. Indeed, the study was based on a literature review, but it still would be desirable to mention this, as well as e.g. describe the criteria according to which the sources for the study were selected.
In addition, even though the recommendations for improving the current situation are offered, they are rather large-scale, and, apparently, could only be realized in the long term. Still, this is the consequence of the scale of the problem that is analyzed in the study.
To sum up, it should be stressed that the article by Splett et al. (2008) provides a thorough analysis of the problems related to the implementation of SMH by school psychologists.
After arguing that engaging school psychologists in providing SMH services could compensate the dearth of such services and achieve significant positive results, the authors discuss the obstacles for this, as well as supply recommendations that could help to engage them; these recommendations are rather large-scale. The analysis is thorough and the volume of the examined literature is large, but the authors did not describe the methodology they employed in their study.
Splett, J. W., Fowler, J., Weist, M. D., McDaniel, H., & Dvorsky, M. (2013). The critical role of school psychology in the school mental health movement. Psychology in the Schools, 50(3), 245-258.