Published September 30, 2017 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Teachers Supporting Students with Parents Having Mental Health Problems. A Scoping Review

  • 1. Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence (CPI), Faculty of Educational Sciences, Bielefeld University (
  • 2. Research Center on Child Studies (CIEC), Institute of Education of the University of Minho
  • 3. ISAMB, Instituto de Saúde Ambiental, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa
  • 4. Faculty Arts, Business and Applied Social Science
  • 5. Institute for health research and social psychiatry (igsp), Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine – Westphalia


Children whose parents have mental health issues respond to associated familial stressors with symptomatic behaviors and are, themselves, at considerably higher risk of developing serious mental health problems. Teachers are the most likely professionals who are able to recognize behavior changes and mental health needs of children. This article aims to provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art research on teachers’ mental health literacy including how teachers identify and support these children. A scoping review was undertaken with six databases by using English and German search terms for articles published between January 1990 and July 2017. This review identifies a research gap in mental health (literacy) research for a major cause of mental health issues in children. There is little recognition of students’ familial environment in the research undertaken. The founded studies show that identifying affected children is difficult for teachers. If teachers identify those children, they have great uncertainties to work with this situation. Identified teachers’ responses are insufficient for children and mostly depends on individual attitudes and experience with mental health issues. Teachers are highly stressed by the child's school situation and need support themselves to support children adequately. Better support for teachers is required in order to prepare them adequately to support children. Based on the results opportunities for teachers’ mental health literacy are discussed to expand teachers’ ability to promote mental health in children with parents having mental health issues as well as future research activities.



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