Evidence-based prevention programs targeting youth mental and behavioral health in primary care: A systematic review

Lourdes M. Rojas, Mónica Bahamón, Rachel Wagstaff, Isabella Ferre, Tatiana Perrino, Yannine Estrada, Sara M. St. George, Hilda Pantin, Guillermo Prado

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The objectives of this systematic review were to: 1) identify evidence-based youth (i.e., infancy, pre-school age, school age, and adolescence) mental and behavioral health disorder preventive interventions conducted in or offered by primary care settings, and 2) describe these interventions’ characteristics, efficacy, and clinical involvement. Randomized controlled trials that targeted the prevention of mental or behavioral health outcomes for youth and had a connection to primary care were included. The PRISMA guidelines were utilized for two phases: 1) searching PubMed, EMBASE, PsycInfo, CINAHL, and Cochrane databases in January 2017; and 2) searching United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Systematic Reviews in November 2017. The two phases revealed 504 and 58 potential articles, respectively. After removal of duplicates, screening of abstracts, and full-text reviews, 19 interventions (infancy: n = 2, pre-school age: n = 3, school age: n = 6, adolescence: n = 8) were included: 1) 10 interventions described in 17 articles from the databases, and 2) 9 interventions described in 11 articles from the USPSTF reviews. The included interventions capitalized on primary care settings as a natural entry point to engage youth and families into interventions without requiring a large amount of clinic involvement. Commonalities of efficacious interventions and recommendations for future research are discussed. The authors encourage primary care providers, mental and behavioral health providers, and/or public health researchers to continue developing and testing preventive interventions, or adapting existing interventions, to be implemented in primary care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalPreventive medicine
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Behavioral health
  • Mental health
  • Prevention
  • Primary health care
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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