According to the Centers for Disease Control (2013), every year an estimated 13 to 20% of children in the United States suffer from mental health disorders. School mental health services developed to address the learning barriers experienced by these children achieve variable rates of success (Adelman & Taylor, 2011; Center for School Mental Health, 2011). Reasons for this variability include lack of integration of these initiatives into comprehensive school reform efforts (Adelman & Taylor, 2011), lack of inclusion of school mental health staff in the school improvement planning process (Nastasi, Varjas & Moore, 2004), and lack of consideration of the local school context in their selection and implementation (Ringeisen, Hendersen & Hoagwood, 2003). A group of 15 school teachers and mental health staff of a small Texas school district conducted this action research study about the status of its school mental health services. Individual interviews of the participants served as the initial basis for group meetings during which participants identified weaknesses in their mental health services, prioritized issues to be addressed, and developed an action plan to be presented to school administrators, and the Board of Education. Consistent with the findings of other research studies on school mental health (Center for School Mental Health, 2011), the three main areas of concern identified by the group included poor role clarification among school personnel responsible for mental health functions, lack of teacher training about mental health disorders and related classroom management strategies, and unclear policies and procedures. The process and outcome of the study support the use of participant action research as a method to aid in the development of locally relevant school mental health programs.
|Commitee:||Black, Donna, McGhee, Joy, Ossege, Jennifer|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|Department:||Psychology Progam: Clinical Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Education Policy|
|Keywords:||Action research, Learning supports, Participatory action research, Problem solving teams, School improvement, School mental health|
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