Promoting mental well-being: educators’ perceptions of mental well-being practices and programs for including all students
The Canadian Mental Health Organization states that there is a substantial percentage of children and youth in the school age range who suffer from some form of mental health disorder (Canadian Mental Health Organization, 2020). A troubling finding is that only twenty percent of individuals who suffer from a mental health disorder receive adequate support (Canadian Mental Health Organization, 2020). Schools have been regarded as important environments for promoting the well-being of children, as they spend over 6 hours a day and more than 180 days a year in school (Stewart et al., 2004). In the school year 2020/2021, Manitoba children had 196 scheduled days of school (Education, n.d.). The promotion of well-being for students includes responding efficiently to all student needs and learning challenges. In this fast-paced world, educators are looking for strategies to assist students and help them thrive. This qualitative study examined six elementary educators' (e.g., classroom teachers, support teachers and administrators) perceptions of practices and programs intended to promote students' mental wellbeing in Manitoba, Canada, including interventions designed for those who lack self-regulation or present with exceptional social and emotional needs. Each participant was individually interviewed using a digital platform. The data was analyzed thematically. The findings support a need for more evidenced based resources and support, a need for a school wide framework, more resources and supports as well as more focused measuring of outcomes. The implications of promoting mental well-being in schools for all students as well as areas for future research are discussed.