Child mental health and service needs in Iraq: beliefs and attitudes of primary school teachers

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ObjectiveTo survey Iraqi primary school teachers' beliefs and attitudes about mental health and behavioural problems of children.MethodsFrom 10 primary schools in Baghdad, 148 teachers were surveyed using a closed-response questionnaire to assess beliefs and attitudes regarding students' mental health and behavioural problems, needs, resources and limitations to teaching.ResultsDisruptive behaviours were rated as main problems by the largest proportions of teachers. In-service training on ‘identifying students with social, emotional, or behavioural problems’ and ‘effective behaviour management’ was rated very important by 70% of teachers. Most teachers received no training on mental health during their teaching career. There was low reported availability of a wide range of school-based mental health resources.ConclusionsTeachers in Iraq report substantial mental health and behavioural problems in primary school children and identify high unmet need for school-based mental health programmes and training.

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