Teacher Candidate Mental Health and Mental Health Literacy

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Vol: 26, Issue: 2, Page: 42-61

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Dods, Jennifer
teacher education; teacher candidates; mental health; mental health literacy
article description
Providing teacher candidates with a strong foundation in mental health literacy during their teacher education program is crucial in ensuring novice teachers are prepared to support the mental health needs of their students. In addition to responding to students, teacher candidates are typically at an age when mental health disorders are common and their personal mental health during the program also needs to be considered. In the current study, a survey was conducted with 375 teacher candidates in order to extend our understanding of the personal mental health and mental health literacy of pre-service teachers. Results showed that teacher candidate mental health was similar to the general population, with 77% reporting positive personal mental health. Teacher candidates did report high levels of stress. Teacher candidates had considerable personal and professional experience with mental health prior to starting the program and reported positive attitudes and moderate levels of knowledge about mental health disorders. Despite considerable experience and a positive perspective, teacher candidates did not feel ready or competent to support the mental health of students. Current teacher education programs should consider building on the knowledge and experience the teacher candidates bring, and enhancing their capacity to translate that knowledge into the classroom setting.