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Lessons From Beauvais: Dialogues at a youth concurrent disorders centre

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Adolescents with a concurrent disorder (co-occurring mental health and substance use) are an understudied population. Mental health and substance use is a growing concern in schools, though support is impeded by teachers' higher workloads and greater stress since the COVID-19 pandemic. This study investigates what students with a concurrent disorder need from teachers to support mental health and ultimately, how teachers can support student wellness. Using a grounded theory approach that emphasized listening, a three-part qualitative and quantitative survey was conducted (n=25) with questions pertaining to school experiences in prior mainstream classrooms and the small classroom at a ten-bed inpatient concurrent disorders unit (Beauvais). Ranging in ages 13-18, participants came from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations. Findings determined that participants want to be supported, understood, and cared for. The acronym SUC, as in SUCcour, was developed to reference results. Data led to determining eight participant "heart-desires": healing, safe spaces, to be looked at, pursued, and listened to, that teachers know, that students succeed, and that teachers try. Four "ways of being" allow teachers to create spaces of SUC that meet heart-desires: by becoming aware that we are unaware of what our students endure, being tuned in—as in intuitive of our students' social and emotional states, losing our agenda of adhering to curricular expectations and assessment practices, and embracing our own vulnerability and risk in the SUC process. This study concludes that participants' mental health is not supported by programs or frameworks, but by entering nurturing environments that are created with the implementation of research findings. In doing so, teachers' personal wellness may be promoted through the reciprocated SUC student-teacher relationship.
279 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Blenkinsop, Sean
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