Barriers and proposed solutions to implementing preventative mental health strategies into post-primary schools and teacher training in Ireland: A qualitative inquiry

Caitlin Stenson, Karen Kirby, Donal Mc Ateer, Allison Gillen

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The current study aimed to explore the attitudes of principals, teacher training lecturers and teachers towards introducing preventative mental health strategies. Following a triangulated method, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with four principals, four teacher training lecturers, and a focus group was conducted with four teachers. Data were analysed following Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The three core themes derived from this study were: (1) cause and maintenance of mental health issues in adolescence; (2) barriers to implementing preventative mental health strategies; and (3) issues with teacher training and proposed solution. Participants favoured incorporating mental health training within teacher training, however highlighted that they were not mental health practitioners. The development and maintenance of mental health issues in adolescence is multi-factorial. Consequently, addressing this requires a wider systemic approach to include society, community, family and school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-125
Number of pages14
JournalIrish Teachers' Journal
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2018



  • Mental health, emotional health, prevention, adolescent, post-primary schools, initial teacher training

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