Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Bethel-Jaiteh, Cynethia

Committee Member

Clark, Rudy

Author's Keywords

cognitive behavioral therapy; CBT; COPE; school-based therapy; virtual education; pediatrics


Background: When mental health issues are left untreated in children, there is an increased risk for poor school performance, substance abuse, and missing essential experiences in life. School-based cognitive-behavioral therapy programs improve negative emotions, increase student positive experiences, increase coping skills knowledge, and provide adequate resources for effective mental health management of symptoms. School-based -behavioral therapy programs improve childhood mental health outcomes and promote coping skills utilization amongst pediatric populations.

Purpose: To implement Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE) a cognitive behavioral therapy program in a private school-based setting to assist children in obtaining optimal mental health outcomes.

Methods: Seven virtual sessions via Zoom utilizing student manuals, online modules, and PowerPoint integrated into the existing assembly class time. The educational sessions included information about mental health, increasing positive mental health behaviors, coping skills, reducing negative thoughts, problem solving, and communication. A pre/post-test design was selected to explore the relationship between increased COPE knowledge/ coping skill utilization and achievement of mental health goals at baseline and 4-week follow-up.

Results: COPE knowledge increased for 70% of participants at follow-up. The mean COPE knowledge score amongst participants (n=10) at preintervention and post-intervention were 2.5 and 3.5, respectively. Coping skill utilization increased for 60% of participants' follow-up. The mean coping skill utilization score at preintervention and post-intervention were 3.0 and 3.10 respectively. All the participants indicated they met their initial mental health goal at follow-up.

Discussion: There is enough evidence to conclude that school-based cognitive behavioral therapy programs such as COPE improve childhood mental health outcomes. The results did reveal increased cope knowledge, coping skill utilization, new coping skill identification, and mental health goal attainment.

Included in

Nursing Commons