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Approximately 17% of children from the ages six to 17 in the U.S. have a treatable mental health disorder, however, of those children, 70% have not received appropriate mental health care to address their mental health problems (MHP) (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2019; Mental Health Foundation, 2016). The severity of MHP identified within the literature points to a distinct need for mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention to address those needs (Albuquerque et al., 2020). Specifically, the need for school-based and after-school based mental health services continues growing at alarming rates (Map, 2013). However, school systems often lack provisions of appropriate mental health services for a variety of reasons, leaving gaps in mental health services focused on positive mental health or the state of mental well-being in which children are able to achieve occupations and activities (Bazyk, 2011; Mental Health Foundation, 2016). Therefore, after-school programs provide a unique environment to implement mental health services while bypassing some of the barriers typically presented in a school setting. Happy and Healthy is a positive mental health program for early elementary school-aged children based on principles of the Synthesis of Child, Occupational, Performance, and Environment-In Time (SCOPE-IT), PERMA model of positive psychology, and social emotional learning (SEL). Happy and Healthy was aimed at promoting occupational performance, occupational participation, quality of life, and well-being for early elementary aged children (K-2) at the Extend-A-Care (EAC) YMCA in Austin, TX.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


mental health services, positive mental health, children's mental health, social emotional learning, after-school program, occupational performance, occupational participation, quality of life, well-being

Medical Subject Headings

School Mental Health Services, Mental Health, Child, Adolescent, Child Development, Occupational Therapy


Health and Physical Education | Mental and Social Health | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences April 12-14, 2022.

Happy and Healthy: A Positive Mental Health Program for Early Elementary School-Aged Children