ERIC Number: EJ1073124
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Staff Voices: What Helps Students with High Mental Health Support Needs Connect to School?
Anderson, Sarah; Kerr-Roubicek, Helen; Rowling, Louise
Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, v16 n1 p1-13 Jul 2006
Research indicates that an important determinant of mental health is the degree to which someone feels connected to his or her environment. For young people, how they feel about "fitting in" at school, in terms of peers, staff and the curriculum, is an important factor in their wellbeing. An effective whole school mental health promotion approach will therefore involve the creation of a school environment that encourages a sense of belonging and connection for its students. While the theory behind student connection to school has received a significant level of attention in the education, health and crime prevention literature, not so much is known about how school staff understand the process of "students connecting to school" and what they do to enable it. Even less is reported about the experiences and views of students with high mental health support needs themselves on the issue (see Unheard Voices, Holdsworth & Blanchard, 2005). Therefore, the following study was conducted to seek understanding of the perspectives of school staff about how students connect to school and the implications for enabling the connection of students with high mental health support needs. Qualitative analysis of interviews revealed the emergence of a number of themes that align with previous research on connection to school. This study formed part of the MindMatters Plus initiative, a combined health and education best practice approach to improving the mental health outcomes of secondary school students with high support needs. The findings of this study have practical implications for school staff who are looking for ways to further enable student connection to school. They also add a complementary perspective to those of students as extrapolated in Holdsworth and Blanchard (2005).
Descriptors: Mental Health, Special Needs Students, Student School Relationship, Educational Environment, School Personnel, Attitudes, Interviews, Qualitative Research, Secondary School Students, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A