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Bridging the Gap: Comparing School Personnel and Student Perspectives on the Mental Health Needs of Students

Danielle S. Taubman, Lizelle Salazar, Stephanie Salazar, Sagar V. Parikh


Background, aims and objectives: Teachers and other school personnel are often the first point of contact for a student who is experiencing mental distress. They are therefore particularly well-placed to provide ongoing social and emotional support to students. Nevertheless, most school personnel are not trained to recognize and respond to mental health problems.

Methods: In order to better understand the needs and challenges around student mental health and improve school mental health interventions and resources, we used quantitative and qualitative survey items to compare the perspectives of both school staff and students. To obtain personnel feedback, a 14-item online survey was distributed at the primary and secondary school levels. To obtain student feedback, 7 survey items were added to an existing school-based program survey that was distributed at participating high schools.

Results: Out of 32 schools surveyed, 254 personnel responded, including 60 high school personnel. In addition, 756 students responded from 10 high schools. Though there is agreement between personnel and students on the need to address student mental health issues, there is an apparent disconnect between reports on what is being done and what needs to go into supporting student mental health.

Conclusion: Along with teachers and other school personnel, students should be part of the needs assessment and priority setting processes around school mental health. Strategies to improve student mental health programs and practices are addressed.


Child & adolescent health, depression, mental health information, mental health literacy, mental health training, person-centered healthcare, protective factors, school-based intervention, school health, school personnel, student mental health, suicidal i

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