Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Robert A. Rubinstein


phy, mental health services, public schools

Subject Categories



The purpose of this research is to understand the meanings and perceptions that families, teachers, and school-based service providers on the Westside in Syracuse, New York ascribe to school-based mental health services. The Westside is an economically disadvantaged and under-resourced neighborhood where children experience a great deal of stress in everyday life. Many children in need of mental health care are referred to school-based mental health service providers by their teachers. The primary motivation of this research is to understand how parents and school staff give meaning to the school-based mental health services and how these meanings affect whether they decide to access such services for their children. This research will explore what it means to the families when a child is identified as requiring mental health care and how the identification affects families. The methods I will use include in-depth interviews and focus groups with parents and guardians with children who have been identified in school as in need of mental health services. Interviews with school-based teachers, health providers and case coordinators will also be utilized. In addition to the interviews, I will conduct participant observation in the school classrooms and health offices in the four elementary and two middle schools located on the Westside. By understanding how individuals in each of these groups perceive school-based mental health services and observing the coordination and delivery of services, it may be possible to find discrepancies between perceptions. These differences may provide insight into recommendations for more effective services that meet the needs of youth on the Westside.


Open Access

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