Master of Arts
Youth mental health distress has increased in recent years, creating a sense of urgency among teachers regarding preparation, knowledge, and a need for education. To address this need, this program evaluation study evaluated a 12-week mental health literacy course offered as part of a mandatory curriculum at a large Canadian university’s Faculty of Education. The goals of the course include amplifying preservice teachers’ sense of school mental health awareness, confidence, and relationship building through a trauma and violence and culturally informed approach. Results indicate that incorporating a mental health informed curriculum can positively influence perceived self-efficacy in providing mental health support, attitudes towards trauma-informed care, the ability to foster a mental health healthy classroom environment, and the quality of interactions preservice educators have with students. Perceived self-efficacy in trauma-informed care did not improve as a result of the course, suggesting that supporting classroom mental health and supporting classroom trauma are two distinct practices.
Summary for Lay Audience
Given the rising rates of mental health concerns and the lack of teacher preparedness in addressing student mental health issues, this study investigates the effectiveness of a 12-week mental health literacy course in positively influencing preservice teachers’ competencies as they prepare to work with students who may have mental health concerns. Results suggest that the mental health literacy course raised preservice teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in providing mental health support, attitudes toward trauma-informed care, the ability to create a positive classroom environment, and the quality of interactions held with students. However, self-efficacy in trauma-informed care did not significantly improve due to the course. These results are promising and serve as valuable insight into how to educate teacher candidates to develop mental health literacy. Since teachers spend an enormous amount of time with students, they are uniquely positioned to notice changes or atypical mental health concerns in their students. The implementation of mental health literacy curricula in teacher education could improve the trajectory of students with mental health concerns who might otherwise go unnoticed.
Boulazreg, Samir, "Evaluating the Impact of a Mental Health Literacy Course on Pre-Service Teachers' Self-Efficacy, Attitudes Toward Trauma-Informed Care, Classroom Management, and Relationship Building" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8601.