This paper presents a critique of the perceptions, views, perspectives, understanding and attitudes of middle school pupils and teachers on mental health. It highlights what they think or how they perceive mental health concept, positive mental health, negative mental health, psychological needs, and mental health problems in the adolescence years, the risk and resilience factors as well as the causes of mental health. The paper also presents a review of literature in regard to the teachers’ role in promoting students’ mental health, the risk and resilience factors and students mental health problems in secondary school as well as identifying these problems early. It also reviews studies about mental health education curriculum and programs designed and applied in school in order to promote students’ mental health especially fro middles schools in Australia, UK, Canada, Finland and the US, such as SEAL, LEAs and PATH among others.
The pupils’ attitudes and perceptions of mental health are influenced by the beliefs of the public and the communities from which they come from regarding mental health. Children acquire the wrong information regarding the unworthy nature of people with mental health problems. Generally, members of the public and parents tend to isolate their children from people with undesirable symptoms of mental health thereby instilling a negative attitude in their children. It is therefore common for adolescents to come to school with pre-determined judgment regarding mental health. Dalton et al. (2007) argue that the negative attitudes instilled in the adolescents may become more intense as they grow to adulthood if measures are not taken to change their beliefs. These perceptions lead to low self-esteem and feelings of rejection. The adolescents usually view mental health problems as a disadvantage that hinders the affected peers from accomplishing the tasks that are assumed to be ...
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