Advances in Mental Health, Vol 10, No 2 (2011)

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Mental Health Promotion in Childcare Centres: Childcare Teachers Understanding of Child and Parental Mental Health

Margaret Sims, Elise Davis, Belinda Davies, Jan Nicholson, Linda Harrison, Helen Herrman, Elizabeth Waters, Bernie Marshall, Kay Cook, Naomi Priest


Childcare teachers have an important role to play in the development of a child's mental health yet are often under-trained in this area. This study aims to document childcare teachers' and managers' understanding of child and parental mental health and the early signs of mental health problems. Childcare managers and teachers (n=19) sampled from low socioeconomic status areas participated in semi-structured interviews to explore their understandings of child and parental mental health. Many childcare teachers and managers have somewhat limited knowledge about child mental health and there is a need to expand their knowledge regarding the associated range of risk and protective factors. In particular, the need to expand understandings of the impact of broader community and societal issues on mental health was identified. Childcare professionals supported further training in this area and many identified that they did not know enough about children's mental health. This training needs address mental health at different levels: within programmes for individual children as well within the wider community and society in general.

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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