Student mental health professionals oversaw the curriculum’s design. Three independent evaluations of Behind Happy Faces were conducted and validated by expert review to assess the validity of the curriculum.

The evaluations sought to understand the way in which the course impacted stigma about mental health issues, attitudes towards seeking professional help for mental health issues and coping and self-efficacy. The evaluations used Fischer and Farina’s (1995) Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Short Scale (ATSPPH), Corrigan’s (2001) General Attributions Questionnaire (GAQ) and Chesney and colleagues (2016) Coping and Self-Efficacy Scale Short Form (CSESS).

In the most recent evaluation independent samples T-test were run on 700 members to compare all lessons on pre and post test scores. As a result of participation in the Behind Happy Faces Mental Health Curriculum participants showed:

  • Increased confidence in addressing a crisis with friends
  • Increased confidence in dealing with mental health challenges
  • More favorable attitudes about others seeking help for mental health issues
  • More favorable attitudes about seeking help for mental health issues for themselves
  • 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, danger, and felt less pity towards people with mental illness
  • Increased ability to stop themselves from unpleasant thoughts
  • Increased ability to keep from feeling sad when appropriate
  • Increased ability to manage emotions by keeping their minds off unpleasant thoughts
  • Increased problem solving skills and ability to seek social support