Mental health issues in children: exploring primary school teachers’ experiences, knowledge and training needs
evidence and practice    

Mental health issues in children: exploring primary school teachers’ experiences, knowledge and training needs

Michael Nash Assistant professor in mental health nursing, Dublin School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
José Manuel Granada López Mental health coordinator, healthcare department, public health services, regional government of Aragon, Zaragoza, Spain

Why you should read this article:
  • To improve your knowledge of the mental health issues that can affect schoolchildren

  • To familiarise yourself with the extent of teachers’ knowledge of mental health issues in schoolchildren

  • To understand how you can collaborate with teachers to support schoolchildren with mental health issues

Background Mental health disorders often begin in childhood and children spend a substantial amount of time in school. Adequately trained schoolteachers therefore have a role in the early identification of mental health issues in schoolchildren.

Aim To explore the experiences, knowledge and training needs of Irish primary school teachers in relation to mental health issues in their pupils.

Method This was a quantitative descriptive study with a cross-sectional design conducted in a convenience sample of primary school teachers in Ireland using an online survey sent to members of two teaching unions.

Results The mental health issues that respondents most often encountered in their pupils were anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and oppositional defiant disorder. Respondents had varying degrees of knowledge of symptoms of mental health issues and of mental healthcare for children. Most respondents had not received training in children’s mental health and were motivated to receive such training. Most respondents had positive attitudes towards supporting schoolchildren with mental health issues.

Conclusion There is an opportunity for mental health nurses to become involved in training and supporting primary school teachers to identify children’s mental health issues.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2021.e1538

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

nashmi@tcd.ie

Conflict of interest

None declared

Nash M, Granada López JM (2021) Mental health issues in children: exploring primary school teachers’ experiences, knowledge and training needs. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2021.e1538

Published online: 27 April 2021

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