Fourteen studies were included (total sample size unclear): two randomised controlled trials, nine non-randomised comparative group studies and three non-comparative group studies. Sample sizes ranged between 86 to 490.
Models of consultations in the childhood programmes varied from manualised consultation (approach driven by a manual or a set of programme guidelines) and consultation delivered through an established curriculum to individualised consultation services (based on the needs of teachers, classrooms or programmes)
Frequency and duration of early childhood mental health consultation services:
Two studies reported outcomes for the effect of dose of consultation on child outcomes. One study found the frequency of consultation activities to be associated with teacher reports of child outcomes. In another, the number of consultation service hours a child received was found to predict improved composite child behaviour scores.
Mental health consultants’ education, training and supervision:
Most of the studies employed mental health consultants with a masters degree or higher; many were provided with additional training and supervision (10 studies). Level of education was not associated significantly with improvements in child outcomes (one study).
Problem behaviours and prosocial outcomes:
Early childhood mental health consultation was associated with reductions in teacher-reported externalising problem behaviours (such as defiant behavior, hostility, hyperactivity; 12 out of 13 studies). Evidence for improved internalising child behaviours was mixed (six studies).
Early childhood mental health consultation was associated with increased social and emotional outcomes for young children (eight out of nine studies). No effect of early childhood mental health consultation was found in one study.