United to help teachers: intervention to promote mental health literacy in secondary school teachers: preliminary results

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Abstract

Several adolescents experience significant mental health problems that interfere with their development, but they often don´t have the necessary knowledge to recognise the symptoms (Trudgen & Lawn, 2011). Teachers therefore play a crucial role in early detection of mental health problems in their students and referral to early intervention support services (Graham, Phelps, Maddison & Fitzgerald, 2011; McGorry, Purcell, Hickie, & Jorm, 2007; VicHealth, 2008). Frequently they are the first to observe the maladaptive behaviours that affect young people’s learning and overall functioning (Meldrum, Venn & Kutcher, 2009; Trudgen et al., 2011; Whitley, Smith & Vaillancourt, 2012). The “United to Help Teachers - Intervention to promote mental health literacy in secondary school teachers” project aims at promoting mental health literacy in secondary school teachers. The intervention is composed by two sessions, 150 minutes each, one-week interval. Sessions follow an interactive methodology, using group dynamics and music and group discussions. The impact of the intervention is conducted through a pretest-posttest design using “Questionnaire UPA Makes the Difference: Perceptions of mental health problems – teachers’ form”. Sixty secondary school teachers participated in this study. The postest showed a significant increase in teachers’ positive perceptions regarding mental health problems (less stigmatized), as well as a significant improvement of teachers’ perceived knowledge regarding mental health issues. These results suggest that increasing teachers’ mental health literacy is a crucial complement of school-based intervention that can permit early detection of mental health problems in young people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages10
JournalRevista de Psicología
Volume10
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Mental health promotion
  • Mental health literacy
  • Teachers
  • Young people
  • Impact of the intervention

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