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Title: Venturing into schools : locating mental health initiatives in complex environments
Authors: Askell-Williams, Helen
Lawson, Michael J.
Slee, Phillip T.
Keywords: Child mental health
Mental health policy
Study environment
Issue Date: 2009-11
Publisher: Centre for Resilence & Socio-Emotional Health
Citation: The International Journal of Emotional Education. 2009, Vol. 1(2), p. 14-33
Abstract: Schools provide viable settings for mental health promotion initiatives, such as programs to develop students’ social and emotional capabilities (SEC). Complexity in the school environments into which initiatives are introduced, such as diverse student capabilities, school structures, and teachers’ knowledge and confidence, will play an integral role in the success of those initiatives. This paper investigates the environments of schools about to receive the KidsMatter mental heath promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative in Australia, using information sourced from questionnaires about 2598 students and their teachers in 50 Australian primary schools. The focus of the report is on the status of the schools’ work in one of the key focus areas for the intervention, namely students’ SEC. Analysis showed relatively high levels of students’ SEC across the whole sample, but with sub-group differences. Teachers’ attitudes towards SEC learning were highly positive. Teachers’ self-rated knowledge and approaches in dealing with SEC were moderate, and point to requirements for additional pre-service and professional development. The extent of regular and sustained delivery of SEC programs and mental health initiatives in general showed variability, suggesting the need to attend to school systems and structural supports. Implications of these areas of diversity in school environments on the selection and methods of delivery of mental health promotion programs in schools are discussed.
ISBN: 20737629
Appears in Collections:IJEE, Volume 1, Issue 2
IJEE, Volume 1, Issue 2

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