Teachers’ perspectives on educator mental health competencies: A qualitative case study

Diane Kratt 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 22-40

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Given the prevalence of children’s mental health disorders, teachers’ roles have expanded to include identifying students with mental health needs and delivering mental health interventions. However, teachers rarely receive mental health training. This study’s purpose was to explore teachers’ perspectives on an educator mental health competency framework proposed by a group of researchers using the following questions: (a) how the competencies could guide and inform their practice; (b) how the teachers would react if the competencies were adopted; and (c) what suggestions they had for improving the competencies. The participants’ responses indicated that they needed more knowledge on mental health and larger systems of support to increase their classroom effectiveness. Overall, the teachers supported the adoption of the competencies but had reservations regarding the necessary training and implementation process. Although the participants did not provide direct suggestions on revisions to the competencies, they did imply suggestions. Findings support the use of the mental health curriculum framework in the development of teacher mental health training. Several implications for practice are proposed including the addition of mental health curriculum in teacher preparation programs and the necessity for school administrators to create a school culture and infrastructure to effectively support school mental health.

Keywords: school mental health, educator competencies, teacher preparation, professional development, social emotional development