“I'm not just picking up the child, I'm picking up the family”: The experiences of school staff working with children of parents with mental health difficulties.

Brees, Emily (2021) “I'm not just picking up the child, I'm picking up the family”: The experiences of school staff working with children of parents with mental health difficulties. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

This research study aimed to explore the experiences of school staff working with children living with parents who are known to have mental health difficulties. Whilst acknowledging the potential vulnerability of this population, both charities and families themselves report that these children’s needs are often invisible to the professionals working with their parents. Considering the role of school staff in promoting and protecting pupils’ mental wellbeing, they are well placed to support children who are facing such difficulties at home. Despite the prevalence of mental health difficulties amongst parents, there is currently no research within the United Kingdom that has sought to explore how school staff experience working with the inevitably large population of children impacted in this way. Eight Pastoral Support Leads from primary school settings were recruited to take part in semi-structured interviews. Recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four overarching themes emerged from participants’ experiences: ‘Compelled to Care’, ‘Journeying with Families’, ‘Expectation to Find Solutions’, and ‘Frustrated, Fearful and Fighting Alone’. Findings are presented and then considered within the context of relevant existing literature and theoretical frameworks. The implications for Educational Psychology practice and the education system as a whole are further discussed, alongside limitations of this study and suggested areas for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Mental Disorders
Families > Parent Child Relations/Parenthood
Families > Families - Psychology
Groups & Organisations > Groups/Institutions/Organisations
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2498

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