Teachers' perceptions of the barriers to assessment of mental health in schools with implications for educational policy: A systematic review
Pia O'Farrell, Charlotte Wilson, Gerry Shiel
The British Journal of Educational Psychology
Institute of Education

Mental health assessment in schools is garnering increasing interest year on year. The number of children receiving clinical psychology services in Ireland increased by over 150% between 2019 and 2020, while the number of children in need of services increased by half during this time.

Children spend a large proportion of their daily lives in school. Therefore, teachers can act as gatekeepers by playing a key role in identifying children with mental health difficulties in the classroom and making the necessary onward referrals to external services. 

Previous reviews focused on mental health interventions in schools; however, this review focuses on the assessment of mental health in schools and on teachers' perceptions of this, as such a review is still lacking.

DCU researchers found that lack of training in assessment of mental health and ‘role conflict’ were key barriers; some teachers attributed this to their lack of knowledge, skills and confidence in the area.