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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Educator experiences incorporating mental health literacy into practice : helping and hindering factors Semchuk, Jaime


The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of educators’ experiences incorporating mental health literacy into practice, and the barriers and facilitators that influenced successful implementation. Utilization of the qualitative, Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT) methodology allowed for an exploratory, in-depth investigation of the topic. Through 14 individual, semi-structured interviews, high school educators described the factors that helped them and hindered them when supporting student mental health and incorporating mental health skills and knowledge into their work in the schools (i.e., critical incidents). Additionally, educators identified supports they wished were available to assist them in implementing mental health literacy into their practice (i.e., wish list items). From the interview transcripts, 256 Critical Incidents (CIs) were generated, including 137 helpful CIs, 86 hindering CIs, and 33 wish list (WL) items. Through an iterative data analysis process, critical incidents were organized into nine emergent categories: Building Relationships with Students, Normalizing Talking About Mental Health and Reducing Stigma, Accessible Mental Health Professionals, Mental Health Literacy Education, School Staff Communication and Collaboration, Time, Administrator Support, Family Communication and Collaboration, and School Culture and Values. These findings are reflective of frameworks for comprehensive school mental health supports, which emphasize teamwork and collaboration, school mental health literacy for all (i.e., school staff, students, families), and take into account systems and contextual factors. Findings are discussed through the lens of implementation science, with a focus on how determinant frameworks can facilitate understanding of the factors that influence the implementation of educator mental health literacy competencies. Finally, practical implications, study contributions, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

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