Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Paula Rabaey


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Mental health and well-being are essential to allow individuals to participate in occupations, activities that bring meaning and value to their lives, across their lifespan. This is especially important during the adolescent years, ages 10-19, where brain development and growth are vital and have lifelong functional implications. Positive mental health allows individuals to fully function across environments and involves positive experiences, environments, and internal well-being. Using Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), positive mental health initiatives can be implemented to reach all individuals within a community (Bazyk, 2011). Schools are the places where youth spend the majority of their waking hours. Initiatives to address positive mental health and well-being from a proactive perspective using MTSS can be introduced in the school environment to impact the individuals, including students and staff, throughout all parts of the school day (Bazyk, 2011; Kumar & Mohideen, 2019). Positive mental health impacts academic success, extracurricular participation, and overall well-being. This culminating portfolio of three knowledge translation projects examined three different approaches to understanding, implementing, and advocating for children and youth's positive mental health needs. In knowledge translation project one, research supporting MTSS and a public health model through interdisciplinary approaches was culminated and disseminated to practicing occupational therapy practitioners and students in a presentation through the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA). In knowledge translation project two, a school-wide initiative on mental health promotion was designed and implemented to a middle school community, including teachers, staff, and students, over six weekly lessons over Zoom. In the third knowledge translation project, resources are outlined to assist other practicing therapists and students in advocating for their role in mental health promotion within a school-based setting in a poster presentation to be completed at the Minnesota School-Based OT/PT Institute. The knowledge translation projects and background research to support evidence-based practice in mental health promotion demonstrated the role that occupational therapy could play within the school-based setting. Mental health, including positive mental health and well-being, are foundational to full participation in lifelong occupations. Occupational therapists have background knowledge and training in mental health that should be considered for active involvement on mental health teams to support student mental health and well-being.