Prospective teachers’ mental health and their help-seeking behaviours
Ersin Uzman, Bulent Baki Telef
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Article No: 7   Article Type :  Brief Report
Objective: Although the teaching profession is stressful and despite the known impact of teachers’ mental health on students during teaching, prospective teachers’ mental health is neglected in training and selection. However, knowledge about teacher candidates’ mental health during their training process and about their help-seeking behavior can contribute to improving their mental health. Therefore, this study aims at determining the mental state of teacher candidates and elucidating help-seeking behaviors that may be useful for overcoming mental problems.

Method: Our sample consisted of 724 prospective teachers studying at the Faculty of Education of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Canakkale; 501 (69.2%) were women, 223 (30.8%) were men. Data were collected using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and a Sociodemographic Data Form prepared by the researchers.

Results: At the end of the study, in 40.6% of the prospective teachers a high severity of distress was detected. The most commonly determined mental symptoms were depression and hostility. The teaching candidates had mostly referred to informal sources, but 39.2% had not sought any help. For mental symptoms, they had mostly sought help informally from their mother or father and siblings, and formally from psychologists or psychiatrists. As factors inhibiting help-seeking, assumed inability of understanding, lack of faith in the possibility of help, and fear of being judged by peers, hesitation to accept help and lack of knowledge about where to look were related to mental symptoms.

Conclusions: The study shows the necessity to pay attention to prospective teachers’ mental health, promote formal sources, emphasize the role of informal sources like father and siblings, and overcome obstacles in the way of seeking help. It appears that, in the context of prophylactic mental health services, the development of psychological support may be useful in order to increase prospective teachers’ mental health.
Keywords : Help-seeking, mental health, prospective teachers
Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences 2015;28:242-254
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