Year: 2023 Source: European Journal of Mental Health. (2022). 17(3), 65–77. SIEC No: 20230330

Introduction: In previous studies, a large majority of dance students reported mental health issues, mainly eating disorders and depression.
Aims: This project aimed to promote mental health and wellbeing as well as prevent maladaptive and risky behaviors – namely suicidal behavior – among adolescents who attend art and dance schools. It was implemented in sequential  stages, including six moments of classroom intervention for adolescents.
Methods: A quasi-experimental research design was applied, with two assessment moments (before and after the intervention) using questionnaires filled out by the adolescents.
Results: The project was implemented in three art schools (Center and South of Portugal), and the sample consisted of 122 adolescents. 72.9% of our sample were girls aged 12–18 years (M = 13.88; SD = 1.54). Boys showed significantly  higher well-being scores (M = 16.53; SD = 4.24 vs M = 14.67, SD = 4.17), and girls showed higher coping scores (M = 153.3; SD = 13.53 vs M = 146.73; SD = 13.22). Concerning depressive symptoms, 34.8% of adolescents had  moderate/severe depressive symptoms, which decreased by 10% after the intervention.
Conclusions: Adolescents attending art schools might be more vulnerable to developing mental distress, and this intervention proved to be an effective approach for promoting mental health and well-being as well as preventing suicidal behaviors.