A qualitative analysis of the experiences, training, and support needs of school mental health workers regarding student trauma

Emily Berger, Sarah Samuel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: School mental health workers are ideally placed to respond to student trauma based on their mental health expertise and the impact of childhood trauma on learning, classroom behaviour, and school relationships. The current study aimed to explore the experiences, and support and training needs of school mental health workers regarding student trauma. Method: Thirteen school mental health workers, including school counsellors and wellbeing staff, participated in semi-structured interviews and their responses were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Although participants identified helpful factors, such as consistency in routines and procedural support from colleagues, the most prominent themes in participants’ narratives reflected the challenges of providing optimal training for staff, and support to students and staff regarding student traumatic exposure. Conclusions: The findings suggest a need for further research regarding the development and ongoing implementation of multi-tiered trauma-informed support, training practices and protocols for school staff and school mental health workers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)498-507
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Psychologist
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


    • mental health workers
    • schools
    • students
    • training
    • trauma; trauma-informed

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