Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The views of students, parents and teachers concerning mental health terminology and mental health promotion in primary schools in Ireland
Author: O'Dea, Theresa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 1093
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This research study is primarily an explorative study concerned with the views of students, parents and teachers about mental health promotion activity in five selected primary schools in Co. Kildare in the Republic of Ireland. A mixed methodology approach was used that involved both quantitative and qualitative phases. The views of teachers were sought through semi-structured interviews and the views of students and parents were elicited through focus groups. The quantitative phase (Phase 1) of the study was undertaken to screen out the five highest ranked primary schools in terms of self-reported positive mental health of final year students by means of the Multi Dimensional Self Concept Scale for participation in the qualitative phase (Phase 2) of the research study. The researcher also explored the relationship between the variables of school size and school type (single sex/mixed, urban/rural) with school global self concept/mental health. Quantitative data analysis revealed no significant difference between these variables in this research study sample. The qualitative phase was carried out within the five selected schools identified in Phase 1 of the research study. The views of participants were sought concerning their understanding of mental health terminology and factors and processes within their own schools that contributed to student mental health. The role of primary schools in mental health promotion, barriers to mental health promotion and what is still needed concerning mental health promotion in schools was also explored. Thematic analysis revealed that research participants held more positive associations with the terms 'mental health' and 'positive mental health' than negative associations. However, verbatim responses encompassed some negative associations with both terms and some teachers conceptualised 'mental health' in an entirely negative manner. Efforts to raise mental health awareness and to empower and help students and adults were encompassed within participants' understanding of the term 'promoting positive mental health'. Many of the general factors and processes that participants identified as important for the mental health of students were also perceived by them to be catered for within their own school contexts. These were typically associated with good school practices that could be described as relatively low cost activities. These included, providing a variety of activities, positive relationships/communication, psychologically supportive/secure environments, addressing the holistic needs of the child, effective mental health leadership, facilitative learning approaches and whole school endeavors. Research findings indicated that participants view mental health promotion as an important endeavour in schools and that they value and support an educational agenda that involves a broad range of mental health promotion activity. The school role concerning mental health promotion was understood to include much more than mental health provision for students who present with mental health issues. The need for Social, Personal, Health Education [SPHE], additional resources for schools, more awareness about mental health promotion, teacher training in mental health and leadership in school mental health promotion were some factors identified. Barriers to school mental health promotion included internal and external factors to schools. Suggestions for future research and implications for educational psychologists with regard to advancing the field of school mental health are distinctive contributions of this research study. Raising awareness of the results of this research study across primary schools will help schools understand that school context is an important factor in the promotion of mental health and well-being of students.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.App.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available