Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2023

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


school based mental health, perceptions, knowledge, willingness, training, mental health illness


P-12 students are experiencing higher rates of mental health needs, which generates a growing concern among teachers, parents, and educational leaders. Students with mental health challenges may struggle socially, emotionally, behaviorally, and academically and become at a risk for lower academic achievement, reduced graduation rates, and increased school suspensions and expulsions. While most of the literature is qualitative and has consistently identified schools as the ideal location to provide targeted mental health supports to students, teachers have reported having insufficient knowledge, skills, and resources to provide these supports to students. This correlational study aimed to move forward the quantitative methodology in this field of research by testing the relationship between P-12 teachers’ perceptions of mental health, knowledge about mental health, and their degree of willingness to provide mental health supports to students within the classroom setting. This study also explored the training needs that would increase the rate of teachers' willingness to implement mental health supports. A convenience sample of elementary, middle, and high school teachers working in a rural public school system at a mid-western state responded to an electronic questionnaire. The findings confirmed that teachers who had a more positive perception and knowledge of mental health were more willing to provide targeted supports to students. The specific areas of training that teachers reported were strategies to work with students exhibiting externalizing and internalizing behaviors, mental health literacy, and interventions that would work in the classroom (e.g., teacher check-ins, silent signals). Educational leaders must focus on providing staff with a comprehensive mental health training that entails knowledge about the variety of mental health illnesses, mental health resources (e.g., curriculum, community connections for parents), and time to connect with other professionals for the purpose of collaboration and consultation. Future research would benefit from expanding this quantitative research to explore other personal and professional factors that may be contributing to sustain teachers’ willingness to provide mental health supports within their classrooms. Additionally, the study should include asking participants if they or someone they knew had been diagnosed with a mental health illness.



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