“Because of OMM…my school now focuses on the mental health of students.”

21-22 impact report

“OMM meetings were a bright spot for me during the pandemic”

20-21 impact report

Our Minds Matter is an upstream suicide prevention model based on resiliency research and the power of peer-to-peer influence amongst adolescents. OMM took priorities from the Jed Foundation’s Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention in High Schools to inform program development. Specifically, OMM seeks to improve four outcome areas in student participants that are proven to decrease the risk of suicide:

Additionally, OMM curriculum addresses the CASEL Core SEL competencies: self-management, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills. If you’re interested in offering Our Minds Matter programming to complement your current SEL curriculum for grades 8-12, learn more here.

Since 2018 OMM has been working with Promote Care & Prevent Harm (PCPH), a nonprofit organization researching promotion/prevention science and developing youth-led change programs for schools and community partners. The PCPH team has supported Our Minds Matter with conceptual models, training curricula, and program evaluation.

View OMM’s program evaluation studies below.

OMM partnered with Dr. Jordan Booker, a researcher in psychological science at the University of Missouri, to conduct an IRB research study to understand and improve aspects of student adjustment and functioning while promoting mental health and a broader school environment for students and partnering schools. 

The evaluation consisted of students completing brief surveys about their experiences across three points in the academic year: late fall 2021, early spring 2022, and mid-spring 2022. 

Overall, students’ involvement with OMM clubs seems to be positive and beneficial. Multiple measures of students’ involvement in clubs point to benefits for multiple areas of adjustment and mental health, including:

  1. There was an overall positive association between the number of attended club activities and how much social support students perceived from their OMM clubs (r = .26, p = .011). Furthermore, students who reported positive OMM clubs also reported greater well-being, competence, and autonomy. 
  2. Students who attended more club activities reported greater adjustment and compassion toward others, as well as better management of stresses at home and with friends (peer pressure tended to be lower for these students). 
  3. Leadership in clubs was tied to schoolwork confidence–students felt they could handle more demanding tasks in their classes. Student leaders also felt like their basic psychological needs were being met; they reported feeling like their lives had more purpose, that they had more control over important decisions, and that they had positive and dependable relationships with others. 

Access the full 2021-2022 Outcome Evaluation Study here.

The primary purpose of this evaluation was to address the following research question: 

  1. Is student participation in the OMM program associated with mental-wellbeing, mental health self-efficacy, help seeking, peer support, beliefs about promoting wellness or preventing unwellness, or perceived  benefit of OMM on mental health?

OMM club members from participating high schools completed an online survey in the Spring of 2021 following completion of the OMM intervention for the 2020-2021 school year. Results demonstrate that OMM club participation was positively correlated (more meetings= higher or “better” scores) with mental wellbeing, mental health self-efficacy, help seeking intention, promoting wellness, preventing unwellness, and perceived benefit of OMM on mental health. These relationships were robust and remained statistically significant after adjusting for grade, gender, sexual identity, OMM leader status, and total semesters in OMM, meaning that club participation had a significant, independent effect on the outcomes beyond these other characteristics.

These results suggest that greater participation in OMM and resulting opportunities to apply learned skills may enhance mental health knowledge, mental health resource awareness, and adaptive coping that serve as mechanisms for improved mental wellbeing, confidence in one’s ability to improve their mental health, and eagerness to seek help. Based on these findings, increasing OMM participation may serve as one strategy to optimize student’s mental health. Several limitations should be considered when interpreting these results, such as the cross-sectional design and data collection during the COVID-19 crisis.

Access the 2020-21 OMM Outcome Evaluation Study here.

In this study, we surveyed OMM student members and leaders at the start and end of the 2019 – 2020 school year on its four outcome areas. Participants scored higher at posttest on positive coping and perception of resource awareness in comparison to their pretest scores. This study provides some evidence for the positive impact of the Our Minds Matter program on two of the four outcomes. These results should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size (n=50), limitations associated with the research design (e.g., no control group) and the context of the COVID-19 crisis during the second assessment period.

Access the 2019-2020 OMM Outcome Evaluation Study here.


Youth-led change occurs when student leaders engage in prosocial behaviors that benefit their peers. Yet, few studies have explored the factors associated with youth leadership and diverse prosocial behaviors (dyadic and school-wide). The Our Minds Matter program aims to increase the frequency of prosocial behaviors by its club members and leaders.

This study examined how peer influence and leader role (as a member or club leader) among 220 high school students in the Our Minds Matter program related to the frequency of prosocial behaviors directed toward peers at school and the support of school-wide campaigns to promote wellness and prevent mental health stigma. Results showed peer prosocial influence is related to the amount of support for school-wide campaigns irrespective of leader role (member or leader).

The primary research questions would be better answered with a longitudinal study using multiple time points with consideration for youth developmental change and the school calendar year.

Access the Fall 2019 study on prosocial behaviors of OMM participants here.