Graduate Program

Counseling (School or Clinical Mental Health)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Heidi A. Larson

Thesis Committee Member

Jon K. Coleman

Thesis Committee Member

Dianne Timm


The study examined teachers' perceptions of their school's mental health system. Specifically, teachers were asked about their role in the identification process, how effective their school's system is at identifying and treating mental health problems, and their suggestions for improvement. Mental health problems affect a significant portion of today's youth (Merikangas et al., 2010). Mental health problems can negatively impact an adolescent's academic achievement, social relationships, and behavioral functioning (Woodward & Fergusson, 2001). Six teachers from a southeastern, rural Illinois high school participated in the study. Each teacher participated in a single interview and discussed their perceptions of the school's mental health system. Results indicated that teachers generally believed they were the first identifiers of mental health problems, will refer students to the counselor, feel somewhat prepared, believe their relationship strongly impacts students, would like more training in mental health, want to be invested in training but may hesitate due to a lack of time, would like professional development units for attending trainings, and want trainings to be meaningful.