Working in Europe to Stop Truancy Among Youth
Truancy is a serious public health problem that affects adolescents from all countries around the world. In the United States, it has been reported that up to 35% of high school students skipped one or more days of school during a school year. It has been suggested that truancy is associated with poor mental health, including depression and suicidal behaviour and also maladjustment, substance abuse, delinquency and crime. Most studies, performed in the USA, proposed mechanistic and law-enforcement interventions to prevent truancy. However, this approach is suggested to have negative consequences on adolescents well-being and mental health due to the accompanying psychological distress.
The main objectives of the WE-STAY project (Working in Europe to Stop Truancy among Youth) are to gather epidemiological information on truancy on European adolescents and to perform school-based intervention programmes aimed at reducing truancy rates, thus improving mental health among students. The outcomes of the interventions will be evaluated and based on these, recommendations for the prevention of truancy and mental health promotion will be made available.
The WE-STAY project started in May 2010. The detailed protocol of the intervention and the procedures manual has been developed. All evaluation and intervention materials have been developed in English and translated in six languages for the six countries where the interventions will take place (Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Romania, Spain).
Moreover the materials have also been translated in Russian and Arab for the minorities in Estonia and Israel. The baseline evaluation and the active interventions have been carried out in two countries (Israel and Estonia). The other four intervention countries (Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain) will carry out the baseline evaluation and the interventions in October 2011.