Universities are trying to address student mental health needs through counseling centers and other outreach initiatives. However, do individual colleges know how to address the mental health concerns of their own students? Three faculty members in the College of Education at a university located in the southern United States posed two questions to find out what it is like for student teachers to live with a mental health condition, and what would support academic performance in the College. Seventeen undergraduate students who self-reported as having a mental health condition and were completing their senior year as student teachers volunteered to be interviewed for this case study. Three themes emerged after a reiterative process of reading and coding the interview responses. The three themes were barriers to success, student teaching as a positive experience, and lack of mental health awareness, education, and training for all. The discussion section includes recommendations for removing some barriers through more effective communication and increasing mental health literacy for faculty, staff, and students in the college.


mental health, student teachers, student success, mental health curriculum, teacher preparation, case study

Author Bio(s)

Michael Houdyshell, Ph.D. has been working in higher education for 20 years. Most recently served as the Assistant Dean, College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University which included working with student teacher clinical and field experiences. Currently, Dr. Houdyshell is an Assistant Professor in the College. Please direct correspondence to mhoudyshell@fgcu.edu.

Diane Kratt, Ed.D. has been an educator of over 30 years. She has been an instructor in the College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University for 12 years including teaching several courses on student teacher preparation and internship. Currently, Dr. Kratt also serves as the Director of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships for the College. Please direct correspondence to dkratt@fgcu.edu.

Dr. Jackie Greene is also an experienced K-12 educator now a full time-time college faculty member. Dr. Greene teaches the Capstone Course and acts as Assistant Director of the Faculty Development Center on campus.

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