Teachers' Perceptions of Student Life Stressors: Teacher knowledge of mental health issues and supports

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Harrietha, Denise
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Given that teachers are often the first to observe changes in behavior, both socially and behaviorally; assessing their mental health literacy is important in playing this role of early detection. The objective of this study is to evaluate teachers’ knowledge of student life stressors; knowledge of mental health issues; and knowledge of supports for youth with mental health. Participants were experienced teachers who were enrolled in a graduate education degree program with the Faculty of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University located in Nova Scotia, Canada. Participants completed an online questionnaire that contained open-ended questions, 5-point Likert Items, and several demographic questions. The questionnaire explored participants confidence in identifying distress in the classroom; perceived self-confidence in providing support; knowledge of mental health supports available; and to identify barriers within their school and community. While participants demonstrated competence in their ability to identify and support students with mental health concerns, it was found that most perceived a lack of resources and suggested funding for professional development as well as additional staff trained to assist students with mental health concerns.
Adolescence, prevention, early intervention, school, mental health literacy, teachers, Nova Scotia, thematic analysis