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Primary school-based mental health services : head-teachers' perspectives

It is generally reported that around one in 10 children in the UK today suffer from some kind of mental health problem. It is of course compulsory for all children between the ages of five and 16 to partake in a certain amount of education, which in the vast majority of cases means school. Head teachers are statutorily obliged to safeguard the children in their care, which also means addressing their physical and mental health. Therefore schools are growing in their importance as sites of mental health care interventions. There is little or no published research which explores the phenomenon of on site mental health provision from the perspective of the head teachers, in terms of how it impacts them. For this study, five head teachers of mixed sex primary schools were interviewed about the mental health service that they had commissioned for their school. All five participants employed the same service. Using the interpretive phenomenological approach to analyse these interviews, five major themes were discovered: ambivalence towards the mental health service; mixed feelings towards mental health issues; that the mental health service helped alleviate heads’ sense of anxiety; the paradoxical nature of head teachers’ intersubjective experience; and that while head teachers like to describe themselves as part of a collective identity, they locate themselves as individuals when they feel the need to assert power. It is hoped that these findings might aid providers of mental health services to schools and children by providing a more sophisticated understanding both of head teachers’, and therefore commissioners’, anxieties and positive feelings about such services.
Date January 2012
CreatorsQuinn, Fenella
PublisherRegent's University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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