Perceptions of Students’ Mental Health Issues among Female Elementary School Staff in Saudi Arabia Open Access

Aggad, Roaa (Spring 2018)

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Introduction: Mental health problems and disorders in childhood have been shown to be highly prevalent in different studies conducted on different populations worldwide. The implications of mental health problems during childhood can be debilitating and long-lasting. Our study aims at providing a better understanding of the perceptions and responses of public elementary school staff to school children's mental health problems in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  

Method: This is a cross-sectional qualitative study consisting of in-depth interviews with public school staff, comprising: Eight elementary school teachers, four social workers/student advisors, and four school principals. Study participants were chosen from schools within each of the four school districts of Jeddah - South, North, East, and Middle.

Results: Family disruption, stigma and emotional abuse, physical abuse, poor socioeconomic status, poor parents’ level of education, and supernatural causes were found to be the most common perceived causes of student’s mental health problems among the interviewed school staff. Unexplained physical signs (e.g., headache and stomachache), cognitive signs (e.g., distraction and confusion), loss of confidence, aggression towards others, and depression were perceived as signs and consequences of mental health problems. Strategies of school staff to improve students' mental health, the perceived obstacles to achieving better outcomes, and the recommended solutions to the challenges were documented in this study.

Conclusion: Management of mental health issues among students cannot be the responsibility of only the social workers or student counselors. It is a sensitive issue that requires cooperation among all the stakeholders. School staff, parents, and the society at large must change attitude to the issue and refuse from the culture of stigmatizing people living with mental health conditions. 

Table of Contents

Table of contents

1. Introduction----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1

a. Background------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1

b. Problem statement and significance--------------------------------------------------------------3

c.  Purpose----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4

2. Literature review----------------------------------------------------------------------------------5


3. Methods--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12

a.  Study context---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12

b. Study design----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12

c.  Study population and participant recruitments-------------------------------------------------12

d. Data collection instruments and justification --------------------------------------------------13

e.  Data analyses---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15

f.  Ethical considerations-----------------------------------------------------------------------------16

g. Study limitations-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------17

4. Results----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------18

5. Discussion------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------31


6. Public health implications and future recommendations--------------------------------36


7- Conclusion-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------37


8. Funding---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------38


9. References------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------39


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