Date of Defense:
April 29, 2010
Objective: School-based depression education and screening programs are recommended for addressing the high rates of children’s mental illness, yet are not very prevalent.The objectives of this study were to identify Minnesota parent attitudes regarding the provision of school-based depression and suicide screening and education and identify predictors of parent support for these school-based programs.
Methods: A survey of a random sample of 1300 Minnesota households with children ages 5-18 years was conducted. Chi-square tests and regression analyses were used to detect differences in parent support for depression and suicide screening and education across demographic categories, parent beliefs and knowledge about depression.
Results: The response rate of eligible households was 43% (N=511). Overall, 84% -89% of parents supported school-based depression and suicide education and screening. After adjusting for all variables, having greater stigmatizing beliefs was associated with lower support for depression [odds ratio, OR 0.03, confidence limits, CI (0.01-0.12)] and suicide [OR 0.03, CI(0.01-0.10)] screening, and depression and suicide education. Having greater knowledge of depression was associated with greater support for depression screening [OR 8.48, CI (1.30-55.21)] and suicide education [OR 7.99, CI(1.02-62.68)].Having a greater education level was associated with lower support for depression and suicide education. White race compared to non-white race was associated with greater support for suicide screening only.
Conclusions: Parental support for school-based depression and suicide education and screening was high. Parent education to decrease stigmatizing beliefs and increase knowledge about depression may increase support among the minority of parents who do not endorse such programs.