School Mental Health Lab

I run the USU School Mental Health Lab. We aim to improve the accessibility and quality of school-based mental health services.

Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash


  1. Our Research Focus
  2. Accessing Our Research
  3. People in Our Lab
  4. PhD Students' Interests

Our Research Focus

The big idea driving our work is that schools should be community hubs for mental health services; not just for kids, but also for educators and parents and families. We believe schools should offer both prevention and treatment, and should balance reducing suffering with improving wellbeing. Most importantly, we believe school-based services are integral to promoting mental health equity.  

Our lab has three main lines of research:

  1. Validating brief rating scales for assessing key mental health variables, including suffering and wellbeing indicators.
  2. Evaluating the effects of simple mindfulness interventions with students, teachers, and parents.
  3. Systematically reviewing the effects of interventions that involve mindfulness (e.g., CBT, ACT, DBT, & SEL) with youth and caregivers.

We hope our research will help more people make better decisions, use better tools, and provide more equitable mental health services in more schools. We realize our work plays only small parts towards these ends, but we hope they are meaningful and useful parts.

Accessing Our Research

You can find our lab's research online at Google Scholar, Research Gate, and Open Science Framework. We share preprints of recent work on PsyArXiv. And I tweet research tidbits semi-regularly. Unfortunately, academic research is notoriously hard to access and often stuck behind paywalls. If you can't get a publication you want, just email me directly.  

When possible, our lab also shares products from our research as free public resources. You can see what we offer on my resources page.

People in Our Lab

Our lab is mostly made up of PhD students, with a few undergrad RAs helping out. We collaborate with several other research teams at other universities around the globe. Geeking out about research with students and colleagues is my favorite thing about being a professor.

Are you interested in joining my lab as a PhD student? If so, please check out my prospective PhDs page first, then go from there.
Or are you looking for an undergrad RA opportunity? If so, please check out my prospective RAs page before reaching out to me.
Or are you a researcher with shared interests seeking collaboration? Feel free to email me directly to connect about potential projects.

PhD Students' Interests

I encourage my PhD students to do research that connects with their personal values and interests. To get a feel for their work, here's a list of their current thesis and dissertation topics:

  • Sean Weeks studied the relationship of home and school climates with subjective wellbeing among LGB+ adolescents.
  • Stephanie Vinal developed a new, free, teacher-report measure of students' social-emotional learning competencies.
  • John Barr investigated the validity and reliability of the Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory with older adolescents.
  • Caleb Farley is studying the effects of mindful breathing practice on stressed parents' stress levels and perceptions of child behavior problems.
  • Kris Franzmann is investigating the effects of a school intervention that integrates behavioral and mindfulness strategies on student externalizing behavior.
  • Mary Phan is studying the social validity and effectiveness of a teacher-implemented mindfulness intervention on teacher stress and student prosocial behavior.
  • Jiin Yang is investigating the differential contributions of internalizing and externalizing problems toward predicting student problems and wellbeing.
  • Ashley Herd is exploring the convergent and discriminant validity of post-traumatic stress measures for youth with academic performance outcomes.

You can learn more about grad students in our lab at my students page. ▲