Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Boyd Bradbury


Mental Health, High School Students, High School Teachers


The purpose of this study was to better understand student mental health needs to advocate for intentional change within the school district where the study occurred. A critical case study approach was taken to learn about student and teacher needs, within a bounded location and time, to invoke intentional change for students in the school district. The study elicited responses from a student focus group of seven students, where they addressed the current mental health needs of students in the district. Responses from the focus group were used to inform the questions in the six semi-structured interviews conducted with high school teachers in the district. These interviews were designed to understand what high school teachers need to positively influence the mental health needs of the students. All of the participants are students or teachers in the school district where the case study was conducted. The findings from this study showed that students described student mental health as easily influenced, hard to consistently identify, and difficult to improve. Teachers can positively influence the mental health of students by demonstrating personal and academic understanding and empathy, and becoming more educated on the topic. Finally, teachers need better learning opportunities, a reprioritization of work expectations, and improved mental health support for students. This data can be used to inform the district to provide higher quality professional development, hire more mental health professionals, and investigate potential changes to the school schedule to better support student mental health.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.