Title

Advocating for students with mental health disorders in grades K-12

First Presenter's Institution

Auburn University

Second Presenter's Institution

Auburn University

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Poster Session (Harborside)

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

Students who have mental health disorders already face challenges in day-to-day life in and outside the classroom. Teachers and administrators play a key part in the overall development of students’ lives, but their pivotal role is in emotional support for students with mental health disorders.This presentation focuses on two of the five conference strands. The first is the “Hands” strand. Providing strategies in which teachers and administrators can promote acceptance and understanding in the classroom, could help produce a safe and welcoming environment. Modeling these strategies could help prevent bullying, conflict, and behavioral problems in the classroom and among school faculty and staff. These strategies focus on acceptance, advocacy, and building a community within the school system which addresses the “Home” strand. In order to incorporate the community aspect of the “Home” strand, strategies to build a community resources list and ways to identity resources for students beyond the classroom will also be discussed.

Brief Program Description

This session will provide teachers and administrators with counseling and educational strategies for working with students who have a mental health disorder. Strategies will be specific to each school level (elementary, middle, and high) and will emphasize acceptance, advocacy, and community support.

Summary

This session focuses on counseling and educational strategies for teachers and administrators working with students who have a mental disorder in grades K-12. This session will outline statistics about students with mental health disorders within the school system and training provided to faculty and staff about this population. It will also cover programs and trainings already in place in some school systems and strategies that teachers and administrators can implement at their educational institutions. Strategies will focus on student centeredness, communication, and team functioning with an emphasis on acceptance, advocacy and promoting a sense of community within the school system. The session will provide specific strategies and potential resources for elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Evidence

The CDC (2018) reports 1 in 7 children between the ages of 2-8 years old have a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Mental illness amongst youth is associated with increased health risks and could negatively impact academic performance and psychosocial development (Moon, Williford, & Mendenhall, 2017). Suicide rates between 2007 and 2016 rose 56% amongst students aged 10-19 years old (CDC, 2018). Students spend around 40 hours a week in school and spend more time on the school campus for extracurricular activities. Schools have the ability to be a key location of identification and intervention of mental health distress for students (Frauenholtz, Mendenhall, & Moon, 2017). Daily interactions with faculty, staff, administrators, and other students provide opportunities for students to construct a view of themselves. These interactions can also help a student feel supported and understood by the individuals around them. If a student’s interaction with faculty, staff, and administrators is negative, the interaction could perpetuate the stigma of mental health disorders. Many education and administrative degree programs require few, if any, courses on mental health; training beyond these programs is imperative to create a successful experience for students and faculty alike. A study conducted by Moon, Williford, and Mendenhall (2017) found that educators do not feel that their training on mental health was sufficient and they expressed a need for more. Further training on strategies and approaches for working with students with mental health concerns can assist teachers and administrators to feel more confident in their interactions with students and help students feel more welcome in the school community (Frauenholtz, Mendenhall, & Moon, 2017). By having school administrators value the relationship between students’ mental health and academic performance will help to encourage faculty and staff to further their understanding and development in incorporating mental health strategies in the classroom (Frauenholtz, Mendenhall, & Moon, 2017).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Hillary Ellerman is a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at Auburn University. She has a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health from Columbus State University and she is a National Board Certified Counselor. Her research interests lie in the experience of motherhood amongst college students, experiences of students with disabilities, and the climate and attitudes of educators towards students with disabilities.

Lindsay Stokes Harrell, M.S., ALC, NCC is a Counselor Education and Supervision doctoral student at Auburn University. She completed is Masters of Science in Counselor Education with a concentration in College Counseling and Student Development and Clinical Mental Health and Certificate in Community College Instruction from East Carolina University. Her research interests include experiences of students with disabilities, individuals with invisible disabilities, and career development of counseling students.

Keyword Descriptors

mental health, students, advocacy, teachers, administrators

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-5-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 5:30 PM

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Mar 5th, 4:00 PM Mar 5th, 5:30 PM

Advocating for students with mental health disorders in grades K-12

Poster Session (Harborside)

This session will provide teachers and administrators with counseling and educational strategies for working with students who have a mental health disorder. Strategies will be specific to each school level (elementary, middle, and high) and will emphasize acceptance, advocacy, and community support.