SEBDA : News : Mental Health Practice in Today’s Schools: Issues and Interventions Witte, R.H. and Mosley-Howard, S.G. Ed (2015)

Mental Health Practice in Today’s Schools: Issues and Interventions Witte, R.H. and Mosley-Howard, S.G. Ed (2015)

New York. Springer Publishing. 450 pages £64.50, Kindle edition £58.31 Witte and Mosley-Howard have collected a variety of papers into this book that cover the core topics related to mental health in schools and also a section of more specialist topics. The editors have a range of experiences over many years in the educational and clinical psychology fields in the United States and have worked in schools before joining Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The contributors are all US academics working in the fields of education psychology and counselling. The core topics covered include identifying mental health issues in young people, ethics and cultural issues and well as interventions that may be appropriate in schools. The array of issues is broad, from minor behaviour difficulties to more severe problems such as bi-polar disorder, self harm and suicide The section that considers ‘special topics’ covers bullying (including cyber bullying), suicide, impact of physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, pharmacology, as well as crisis prevention and response. Throughout the book there is an emphasis on mental health practice in school considering prevention, identification and through to specific interventions. There is an emphasis on the diagnosis and, dare I say, labelling of young people in order for them to get the correct support. Each chapter begins with a few bullet pointed learning objectives that the reader will, hopefully, achieve by the end of the chapter. Each chapter offers a detailed overview of the topic providing the reader with informed discussion. In each chapter there is a section on evidence base and research to support the focus of the chapter as well as illustrative case studies. At the end of each chapter there are suggested resources and a reference list for further reading. All contributors to the book are academics in American universities and as such the book is written with American educators in mind. As a result there are sections that the British reader would perhaps not need to consider, for example the section on school based law. Also a glance through the index indicates that there is much discussion about the use of medication for young people with mental health difficulties which is perhaps more prominent in US than in the UK. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the routine medication of young people, it is certainly a good source of reference. However, with mental health gaining wider attention in schools since the introduction of the new SEND Code of Practice (DfE, 2014) there are many useful and informative readings in this anthology. This is an expensive book but worthy of consideration for education staff dealing with mental health difficulties and students, perhaps the library would be the best option. I would suggest that this book is recommended reading for specialist teacher, either in special schools or an advisory role; those studying the mental health of young people and perhaps for class teachers who feel they need to know more about how they can help individual students in their classes who have identified mental health needs. Reviewed by: Amanda Barrie Behaviour Support Teacher Sandwell Inclusion Support

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