School-Based Group Intervention Effective for Mental Health in Teen Girls

Reduction seen in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and significant decreases seen in anxiety and depression

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A school-based, trauma-informed group intervention is beneficial for alleviating trauma-related mental health harms among girls in high school, according to a study published online June 7 in Science Advances.

Monica P. Bhatt, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 3,749 Chicago public high school girls to examine whether a school-based group counseling program can mitigate trauma-related mental health harms.

The researchers found that participation in the program for four months led to a 22 percent reduction in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and yielded significant decreases in anxiety and depression. The estimated cost utility was below $150,000 per quality-adjusted life year, surpassing widely accepted cost-effectiveness thresholds. Suggestive evidence indicated that the effects persist and may increase over time.

“It is also important to evaluate school-based, mental health interventions by the same yardsticks that we use to evaluate other interventions to extend life and improve health,” the authors write. “If as a society we are willing to cover the cost of medication to support mental health through Medicaid and other payment sources, then we should also finance psychosocial interventions that prove to be cost-effective when viewed through the lens of these same cost-utility metrics.”

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