“Good absence of mental illness. It can

 “Good mental health is more than just theabsence of mental illness. It can be seen as a state of mental health thatallows one to flourish and fully enjoy life.

“Generally mental healthrefers to the capacity of an individual, a group and the environment tointeract with one another in ways that promote the feeling of well-being. Thisentails the optimal development and use of mental abilities (thinking,reasoning, understanding, feeling and behavior) required for normal level offunctioning. According to World Health Organization (WHO), Mental Health isdefined as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or herown abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productivelyand fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

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Itis a state of optimal development and functioning of the individual allowingthe realization of aspiration and satisfaction of needs as well as the abilityto change or cope with the environment (Michael, et al 1996). Today 10–20 percent of students have a mentalhealth problem of some type such as attention deficits, cognitive disturbances,lack of motivation, and negative mood which all adversely affect theirscholastic development. It is often unclear what factors associated with schoolaffect children’s mental development and what preventive measures andinterventions at school might be effective. Study conducted in Canadarevealed that between 15-20 percent of youth suffer from a mental disorder thatwould benefit from professional care; and 6-8 percent of young people sufferfrom depression and in order to reduce it schools and teachers play a verystrategic role; as an adolescent learner spent maximum time in the school(Kutcher et al., 2009).

Schools and teachers have an important role both in the recognition ofmental health problems and in promoting mental wellbeing for all children. Ithas therefore rightly said that teachers are in a unique position to reallymake a difference when it comes to promoting and addressing student mentalhealth concerns in and out of the classroom. Some study also revealed thatmental health promotion and prevention programmes have significant benefits forchildren and teenagers.

The earlier the intervention and the quicker a problemis picked up, treated and managed, the better the long-term outcome for thechild and family (Buckley 2010). Therefore, there often need a pragmaticrole of teachers and that has to be beyond the traditional classroom. Teachershave to be equipped with the practical tools and knowledge required torecognize and intervene appropriately in situations where mental illness wouldbe a concern. But the first thing is to determine how teacher perceive mentalhealth problem of their students and to what extent they were well informedabout it. Thus the present study has made a humble attempt to have an insightabout and address the central query that whether teachershave academic preparedness and sense of competency in working with students ornot? The focus was three-fold: to evaluate teachers’ attitudes and perceptionsof the mental health needs in their schools, to assess teachers’ knowledge,training, and experience for supporting the mental health needs of theirstudents, and to identify the barriers to addressing these needs within theschool environment. In addition, part of this investigation was an examinationof teachers’ perceptions of their roles versus those of other professionalswithin the school to address the mental health needs of students.  A final area of inquiry for thisinvestigation involved comparing the responses of teachers with differing levelsof experience and education to determine whether there has been a trend inrecent teacher education toward increased mental health knowledge and skills.

Objectives of the StudyKeeping in view thereview of existing literature in the area of school mental health and teacherpreparation the study focused on the following specific objectives as mentionedbelow:1.      Toidentify and rank major mental health concerns and services in schools.2.      Tostudy the teachers’ perceptions about their roles in addressing the mentalhealth needs of their students versus the roles other professionals (socialworkers, school counselors, school psychologists) in their schools.3.

      Tostudy the nature of the relationship between teacher experience and educationand their reported roles and levels of competence addressing the mental healthneeds of students.4.      Toexamine the barriers to supporting mental health needs in schools.Methodologyof the Study DesignThestudy was designed to obtain information from teachers from differentgovernment secondary schools of Delhi NCR. Thus keeping in view the requirementof the study the investigator adopted survey design as the primary design forthe study. Population and SampleThetarget population for the present study was all the secondary school teachersof Delhi NCR. The investigator has purposively selected fifteen secondaryschools as the research sight and selected six teachers from each school.

Inthis way total sample size was about 90 teachers.ToolsUsedA survey instrument has used for this study which was a condensedreplica of the survey used by Reinke et al. (2011).  Dr. Reinke provided a copy and grantedpermission to adapt and use the Mental Health Needs and Practices in SchoolSurvey.

The survey questions includefive areas of assessment: (a) mental health concerns; (b) knowledge, skills,and training; (c) barriers; (d) reasons children fall through the cracks; and(e) roles of school personnel.  Questionsin the first two areas are descriptive in nature.  The Cronbach’s alpha was used to determinethe internal consistency of the scales used throughout the survey, and thescale assessing barriers was found reliable with alpha of 0.

82.  The scale assessing why children fall throughthe cracks was reliable with alpha level of 0.86.  Two scales were used to assess the roles ofschool personnel, both of which had high internal consistency, as indicated byalpha of 0.

78 for the teacher scale and 0.86 for the school psychologist scale. 

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