Effects of School-Based Mental Health Services on Mental Health and Human Capital

Project Summary: 

The research team is assessing what happens when K-12 schools adopt a School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) services model, where schools partner with an external mental health services agency to directly place licensed mental health clinicians inside schools. Leveraging a staggered adoption of SBMH across K-12 public schools in Minnesota between 2005-2017, the researchers will study whether SBHC services affect a range of mental health and human capital outcomes for children and adolescents. The researchers will further investigate whether effects vary in subgroups of children and adolescents who are at higher risk of mental health problems. Evidence generated from this study will be directly informative for policy and programmatic decisions around expansion and funding of school-based mental health services.

Registered on Open Science Framework:


Health & Wellbeing: Students’ mental health (new mental health diagnosis recorded in academic year); mental health status (suicidal ideation); and mental health services use (location of services, types of services, and quantity of services)

Other: Educational outcomes (e.g. daily attendance, standardized test scores, and in-school disciplinary action) and juvenile justice involvement


The researchers will leverage a staggered adoption of school-based mental health services across Minnesota public schools to estimate difference-in-differences and event study models on outcomes. The research design will be applied to linked, longitudinal administrative data on health services use for Medicaid-enrolled students, educational outcomes, and juvenile justice outcomes. Administrative data will be complemented by self-reported survey data from the Minnesota Student Survey.  

Principal Investigators: 

Ezra Golberstein, PhD

Grant Start Date: 
June 2020
Award Amount & Duration: 

$189,751 & 21 months