ZTA celebrates success of mental health curriculum, Behind Happy Faces

National Council is pleased to announce the positive impact of ZTA's Behind Happy Faces mental health curriculum. In partnership with the Human Power Project, and funded by the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, Behind Happy Faces will reach 168 chapters across the country and approximately 20,000 members by the end of spring 2016.

In fall 2015, 700 members completed pre- and post-tests to measure the effectiveness of the program. ZTA wanted to understand the way in which Behind Happy Faces reduced stigma about mental health issues and positively impacted attitudes towards seeking professional help for mental health issues, coping and self-efficacy.

As a part of a robust evaluation, ZTA looked at the difference between members before and after completing the program using a matched pairs analysis. We learned to a significant degree (p <.05) members showed:

  • Increased confidence during crisis
  • Increased confidence in dealing with mental health challenges
  • More favorable attitudes about others seeking help for mental health issues
  • More favorable attitudes about self-seeking help for mental health issues
  • More preference towards thinking about therapy for the future, should they need it
  • More inclination towards seeking psychological help when in crisis
  • Decreased stigma about people with mental health issues
  • Less anger, fear and pity towards people with mental illness
  • Increased problem solving skills and ability to seek social support

“It made me feel good to know that it was important to my sorority that we evaluate mental health,” one member said. “I know several sisters, including myself, who suffer with anxiety, depression or some other form of mental illness. It is nice to see our sorority acknowledging that it is OK.”

ZTA is proud to know, based on scientific data, that engaging in the program impacted our members greatly. We were able to see a reduction in stigma, an increase in help-seeking behavior, and an increase in coping skills and self-efficacy skills as a result of Behind Happy Faces.

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