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Title: Exploration of young people and educators' views of mental health literacy and ways to increase mental health literacy within schools
Author: Atkins, K.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The prevalence of common mental health (MH) problems is on the rise among the populations of western nations (Ohrnberger, Fichera & Sutton, 2017). Mental health problems (MHPs) can have serious consequences, including sleeplessness, drug and alcohol addiction, family conflict and suicide (Gaddis, Ramirez & Hernandez, 2017; Lo, Gupta & Keating., 2017). Furthermore, support for young people (YP) with MHPs within the United Kingdom (UK) is lacking (Frith, 2016). One way to facilitate YP accessing support for a MHP, is by increasing YPs knowledge of MH, reducing stigmatising views and increasing awareness of available support (Jung, Sternberg & Davis, 2016; Gaddis et al., 2017; Lo et al., 2017). These elements can be conceptualised as ones' mental health literacy (MHL) (Jung et al., 2016). This research thesis was designed to investigate the extent of YPs MHL. A role for MHL programmes was explored, as were relationships between MH knowledge, stigmatising views and attitudes towards help seeking. Both pupil and educators' views as to how best to raise MHL in schools were also explored. A mixed-method, 2 phased design was employed. Phase 1 consisted of the administration of a questionnaire which was composed of 3 measures: Mental Health Knowledge Schedule (MAKS), Evans-Lacko, Little, Meltzer, Rose, Rhydderch, Henderson and Thornicroft, 2010; Peer Mental Health Stigmatization Scale (PMHSS), McKeague, Hennessy, O'Driscoll & Heary, 2015; Mental Health Seeking Attitudes Scales (MHSAS), Hammer, Parent and Spiker, 2018. 398 participants aged 12-13 years took part in phase 1 and results were analysed using SPSS. Phase 2 consisted of 3 focus groups with 13 year old pupils (n=22). Phase 2 also included semi-structured interviews with 3 special educational needs coordinators (SENCos) which were thematically analysed. The results of this study identified an opportunity to enhance YPs MH knowledge (mean score = 20.4, where a score of 0 = completely incorrect MH knowledge, a score of 30 = totally correct MH knowledge and a score of 18 = neutral MH knowledge). Results also showed that perceptions of societal stigma (m = 10.4) were significantly higher than personal stigma levels (m = 6.2) where p < 0.01. Phase 2 of this study identified barriers to receiving MH support, including limited MHL. Phase 2 identified prospective ways to increase the MHL of YP, including: staff training; parental involvement; integration of MH into curriculum; resources within school; links with external services. Implications of these findings were discussed, including the role of the educational psychologist.
Supervisor: Richards, A. ; Boyle, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available