Supporting Mental Health in the Classroom
Today’s youth are facing a significant increase in mental health disorders, many of which are unable to receive the support and care they need due to various barriers (Ghandour et al., 2019; CDC, 2022. As a result, many have turned to schools to assist in promoting mental health and well-being. However, many teachers report lacking the training to efficiently address and support mental health issues in the classroom (Kratt, 2018). Numerous studies have identified programs that are effective at increasing a teacher’s ability to address mental health in the classroom. However, few studies examine the change in frequency of teachers intervening with students displaying challenging behaviors and/or mental health concerns. The aim of the current study is to examine the change in frequency of teachers addressing mental health in the classroom following a teacher-mental health collaboration training group. Teachers and staff members attended six training sessions, led by a mental health professional, focused on mental health and related topics. Pre and post tests were administered to evaluate the change in helping behaviors. Studies were needed to further assess the frequency in which teachers utilized newly learned skills and information to address mental health concerns in the classroom. While participants provided positive feedback for the group, data analyzed only identified one area, responding to a student in crisis, that met the criteria for a significant change. Small sample sizes and lack of a standardized tool to measure the frequency could serve as limitations for this study. Future research is needed to further explore the impacts of mental health-teacher groups on teachers' knowledge and ability to address mental health in the classroom as well as the impact to students’ well-being.