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© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Mental health promotion in schools is a key priority for national governments. The aim of this meta-aggregation is to synthesise the findings from universal, depression and/or anxiety, cognitive behavioural therapy and/or interpersonal therapy-based, programmes implemented in schools, which are focused on reducing depression and anxiety in student populations aged 8–17 years. Electronic databases were searched for published original qualitative studies which assess students’ perceptions and experiences from participating in universal, school-based, depression and/or anxiety, prevention programmes. Extraction and synthesis of findings were assisted by NVivo qualitative data analysis software. The Joanna Briggs Institute-Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI QARI) Critical Appraisal Checklist for Interpretative and Critical Research was used for assessing methodological quality of the included studies. The confidence of synthesised qualitative findings (ConQual) approach was followed for assessing the confidence in the estimates of syntheses output. Five studies from Australia, Sweden, and UK met the inclusion criteria. Modification in the structure and mode of implementation of universal prevention programmes is required in order to enhance programmes’ applicability and impact. The study provides key practical recommendations to stakeholders and policy makers about the content, delivery, and implementation of school-based, universal, prevention programmes.

Original publication




Journal article


School Mental Health

Publication Date





372 - 385