Increasing Wrap Around Services for Student Mental Health: Educators Perceptions of Policy


This case-study was designed to examine secondary teachers’ perspectives of SHLT-003 in North Carolina, which mandates all educators be trained in identifying, referring, and supporting, students showing signs of mental health issues, drug use, suicidal ideation, and sex trafficking. The legislation passed in 2020 to combat the rising rates of mental health issues and other barriers to student health and success in the state. Kennedy’s model of continued professional development was used as the critical framework. The legislation mandated six hours of training and was first implemented in the 2021-2022 school year. The findings of this study reveal that though educators’ intention of the legislation was good, the roll out was poorly executed, there are polarized views of the training series, and the legislation failed to address many educators’ needs. While educators recognize the growing rates of student mental health demands, they feel strained by the increasing lack of resources, overburdened by the extreme demands placed on their role, and de-valued by the lack of compensation. Educators stressed the need for districts to foster buy-in, and for policy makers to provide funding to support initiatives aimed at increasing services for students. Finally, educators noted a need for professional development that more specifically aligned with their needs. This study can help inform districts and policy makers at policy development and roll out strategies.


Kathryn Watson
Student, PhD, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Educational Organization and Leadership


School-based mental health, Secondary educators, Barriers to learning, K-12 policy