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Secondary school teachers' experiences of supporting mental health

Shelemy, L., Harvey, K. and Waite, P. (2019) Secondary school teachers' experiences of supporting mental health. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 14 (5). pp. 372-383. ISSN 1755-6228

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/JMHTEP-10-2018-0056


Teachers are often the first contact for students with mental health difficulties. They are in an ideal position to identify students who are struggling and frequently support them using different approaches and techniques. This qualitative study aims to investigate secondary school teachers' experiences of supporting the mental health of their students. 7 secondary school teachers from state-funded schools in the UK participated in face-to-face semi structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to understand and structure the data into themes. Five superordinate themes emerged from the data analysis: Perceived role of teacher, nature of relationship, barriers to helping the child, amount of training and resource, and helplessness and satisfaction. Participants described the lack of training, resource and clarity about their role to be causes of frustration. Internal and environmental factors often influenced participants' feelings of helplessness. The findings from this study cannot be readily generalised to the wider population due to the nature of qualitative interviews. This study has led to a greater understanding of the experiences of teachers within a school setting. It is crucial that mental health training for teachers directly meets their needs and abilities. This paper finds value in recognising the lived experience and difficulties faced by teachers supporting students' mental health problems. A theoretical model is presented based on this analysis that can help inform best practice for schools.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:84491
Publisher:Emerald Publishing


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