Dissertation

Mental Health in Elementary Schools: Teachers' and Counselors' Perceptions on How Principals Support their Work with Students' Mental Health

This phenomenological study explores the perceptions of educators around student mental health (SMH) needs, and sought to uncover teacher, counselor, and principal perceptions around SMH needs at the elementary school level. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory and Fullan and Quinn’s coherence framework provided the theoretical framework for this study. The intent of the study was to gain deeper insight into how counselors and teachers are supported by principals to address SMH needs. This research validates the idea that SMH needs must be addressed in the school setting. The data derived from the study provides a glimpse of how one elementary school district supports SMH needs. through the lens of the theoretical framework, the narrative unfolds to reveal a strong need for principals to provide systems of support and structures for collaboration, as well as build trust and capacity in assisting teachers and counselors in addressing SMH needs. The study concludes with recommendations for future leaders to consider when creating plans to support students.

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