How can we enable education staff to recognise and seek help for children and young people with common mental health problems?

Wickson, Harriet (2022) How can we enable education staff to recognise and seek help for children and young people with common mental health problems? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2022WicksonHClinPsyD.pdf]
Download (1MB) | Preview


Background: Despite rates of mental health difficulties in young people increasing, they are unlikely to seek support themselves. Education staff are uniquely positioned to identify early signs of mental health difficulties in young people and support help-seeking behaviours, allowing them to access appropriate and timely support.

Method: A scoping review explored the existing literature regarding education staff’s ability to recognise anxiety and depression in students (4–19-year-olds), without the use of screening tools. This included exploration of methods used and variables evaluated that may influence recognition. An empirical study explored the feasibility of a novel brief online training video. The training aimed to improve secondary school and college staff’s ability to recognise students (11–19-year-olds) with anxiety symptoms, in English education settings, drawing upon the Gateway Provider Model (Stiffman et al. 2004).

Results: Twenty-one studies were included in the review. All studies used teacher nomination or a vignette-based approach to evaluate recognition ability in education staff. Staff’s ability to identify anxiety or depression appears somewhat limited but firm conclusions cannot be drawn due to heterogeneity and scarcity of research. The feasibility study found that the brief online training video was feasible and acceptable to education staff who participated, however recruitment feasibility was poor. There were shifts in favour of the training, for recognition, level of severity, level of concern, confidence, and intention to refer, with small to large effect sizes.

Conclusions: There is a need to better understand education staff’s ability to recognise and support help-seeking for students with mental health difficulties, such as anxiety and depression. Key gaps in the literature were identified including a lack of research using non-teaching staff and colleges, and the use of standardized measures. Brief online training appears to be a feasible and acceptable method of delivering training for those who participated, however barriers to recruitment need to be explored and overcome. Limitations, implications and future directions for research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 14:16
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 14:16

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item