A narrative literature review of child-focused mental health literacy attributes and scales

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Mental Health Literacy (MHL) refers to recognition, knowledge, and attitudes that benefit the mental health of a person to promote recognition, management or prevention of mental health problems. Currently, there are a limited number of psychometrically robust measures of evaluating children's MHL. The development and delivery of MHL interventions without robust measures means that there is no systematic, quantitative or evidence-based method of evaluation. This has implications for the evaluation of interventions that aim to improve children's MHL. In addition, the inclusiveness and generalisability of current child-focused MHL scales is threatened by measures that do not offer the option for verbal administration, meaning that children with certain disabilities or limited literacy abilities may not be accounted for by existing measures. This review investigated MHL needs for children, as well as current measurement practices for children's MHL. The review found that current measures of MHL are mostly unvalidated or lacking in reported psychometric properties and are not accessible for any child who may have challenges with literacy. Robust child MHL scales are needed to inform and evaluate MHL interventions in order to help provide better mental health outcomes of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalMental Health & Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Children
  • Help-seeking
  • Mental health literacy
  • Prevention

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