An investigation of the role of the Educational Psychologist in meeting social, emotional and mental health needs

Purewal, Nina (2020) An investigation of the role of the Educational Psychologist in meeting social, emotional and mental health needs. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Supporting children and young people’s mental health has become a government priority, leading to a Green Paper seeking to enhance support in schools (Department of Health (DoH) and Department for Education (DfE), 2017). Literature suggests that the role of the educational psychologist (EP) is seldom recognised and underrepresented in governmental guidance around mental health (Andrews, 2017; Greig et al., 2019; Zafeiriou, 2017). The current study sought to extend previous research by exploring the EP role in supporting children and young people’s social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) in light of recent governmental agendas. The study aimed to contribute to a stronger professional identity in this area and illuminate the factors supporting or hindering EP engagement with SEMH work. A mixed-methods web-based survey was conducted within England. Quantitative and qualitative data were triangulated and analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis.

Findings demonstrated that EPs consider they are involved with a relatively high amount of SEMH work through the five core functions of the role (Scottish Executive, 2002), across multiple system levels, and age phases. Opportunities for involvement in Green Paper proposals were limited in the current sample, suggesting little involvement with policy initiatives. The findings both concur with and diverge from prior studies; and highlight a number of areas to extend future practice. The combination of EPs’ psychological knowledge and knowledge of school systems, alongside the high level of consultation practice potentially suggest a unique contribution in this area. Barriers to current practice and concerns for future practice include both immediate and wider systemic barriers. Such factors, combined with a low understanding of the role outside of the profession, potentially account for the absence of professional representation. The findings here illuminate the valuable knowledge and skills EPs currently contribute within the context of SEMH work in educational settings, and argue that mental health policy should more fully include EPs as a professional group.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Gulliford, Anthea
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 61423
Depositing User: Purewal, Nina
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 09:34
Last Modified: 21 May 2021 09:45
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/61423

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