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Research for Evidence Based Practice


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The selected topic of discussion is the state of children’s mental health in schools, the role and perspectives of educators on the state of mental wellness in schools in urban and rural areas, and the initiatives undertaken by schools to ensure the student’s mental well-being. The selected study for discussion is a research investigation conducted by Moon et al. (2017) on the chosen discussion topic.

The implementation of mental health services within schools shows potential in addressing the unaddressed mental health requirements of American children by increasing the accessibility of high-quality mental healthcare for those with limited access, including those residing in remote rural areas (Merikangas et al., 2010). Moon et al., (2017) aimed to achieve four specific objectives: firstly, to replicate the outcomes of previous studies on educators’ viewpoints on mental wellness promotion in schools; secondly, to expand on existing research by investigating the specific requirements for mental wellness training; thirdly, to compare the opinions of educators in schools within a similar geographical and political setting of an enormous Midwestern state; and finally, to examine the similarities and differences in viewpoints among educators based on their roles, including teachers, administrators, and mental health care providers.

Seven hundred eighty-six educators, comprising 127 administrators, in a big Midwestern state participated in a single, independent online survey. Following the approval of human subjects by the sponsoring university, a single, anonymized online survey was disseminated to educators and administrators associated with public schools in a Midwestern state through Qualtrics, an online survey platform, in February 2015. The recruitment process employed multiple methods, such as directly reaching out to every superintendent through email and requesting them to distribute the survey link to school staff. Additionally, recruitment was done through various available listservs.

Descriptive analyses were utilized to investigate the viewpoints of educators on the present state of mental wellness promotion in schools. Furthermore, independent samples t-tests were conducted to analyze the disparities in educators’ views, taking into account their respective regions. Ultimately, the researchers employed a one-way statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) to investigate the disparities in the viewpoints of the educators, taking into account the participants’ positions.

The results corroborated prior research, demonstrating that a significant proportion of educators expressed a substantial degree of concern over the mental health needs of students (93%) and the necessity for additional education in mental health (85%). The top three areas needing more training were psychological disorders, behavioral management, and specialized skills, including social skills. Although no disparities were observed among educators in rural and urban schools for other topics, a relatively higher proportion of the participants in rural schools (27%) said that their schools employ mental health experts, in contrast to urban schools (13%). The ANOVA analysis revealed a statistically significant difference in the level of concern over children’s mental health issues amongst school-based mental health specialists and administrators compared to teachers.

Moon et al. (2017) concluded that most participants perceived students’ mental health concerns with significance, and a substantial number believe that the existing services and training opportunities can be expanded. Moon et al. (2017) also suggests that an option for further investigation might be examining the current mental health training programs offered to educators and assessing how they effectively handle their unique training needs. One practical approach to reducing the imbalance in mental health treatment across different geographic regions might involve implementing statewide programs aimed at augmenting the presence of mental health specialists in rural areas (Aakre at el., 2016). Furthermore, Moon et al. (2017) conclude that the disparity in the extent of mental health issues voiced by teachers and administrators could suggest a necessity for school-wide initiatives to cultivate collective dedication toward enhancing children’s mental well-being across different staff positions.


Aakre, J. M., Lucksted, A., & Browning-McNee, L. A. (2016). Evaluation of Youth Mental Health First Aid USA: A program to assist young people in psychological distress. 
Psychological services, 
13(2), 121.

Merikangas, K. R., He, J. P., Burstein, M., Swanson, S. A., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., … & Swendsen, J. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication–Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). 
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 
49(10), 980-989.

Moon, J., Williford, A., & Mendenhall, A. (2017). Educators’ perceptions of youth mental health: Implications for training and the promotion of mental health services in schools. 
Children and youth services review, 
73, 384-391.

Research for Evidence Based Practice
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