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Boosting mental health literacy for foster parents



When we launched the Sharpen mental health platform back in 2017, we were able to serve over 5,000 parents and families at the community level. From the most popular and impactful courses, we created the Sharpen® Mental Health Literacy program for parents to convey the essentials regarding trauma, suicide prevention, stigma reduction and mental wellness. Parents complete the course via smartphone or LMS at their leisure and receive a completion certificate.


Researchers evaluating the program found:


142 foster parents completed a baseline and post-intervention survey including a demographic questionnaire, brief resilience scale, self-compassion scale-short, and the perceived stress scale. Participants completed the 5-hour training. There was a statistically significant correlation between self-compassion and resilience (r = .75), as well as a significant negative relationship between perceived stress and resilience (r = -0.40) and self-compassion (r = -0.36). There were decreases in stress and increases in self-compassion and resilience from pre- to post-test.


Similarly college students completed Sharpen’s 5 hour Mental Health Literacy course which provides over 50 peer-focused and expert documentary films on mental health stigma, suicide prevention, understanding trauma and resilience, and practical implementation strategies for participating in mindfulness based stress reduction activities.


Qualitative themes from the training effectiveness feedback included increased help-seeking, improved stress management, connection to resources and support, improved understanding of mental disorders and warning signs, decreased stigma, improved body image awareness, and an improved understanding of appropriateness in engaging with peers or mentees.


Biber & Rothman, 2023.


Biber, D. D. (2023). Mental health literacy training for foster parents. Journal of Behavioral Education (in review, March 2023).


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