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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Volume 30, Issue 1


Perception of primary school teachers to school children’s mental health problems in Southwest Ethiopia

Habtamu Kerebih
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Science, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia, Phone: +251924316221
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Hailay Abrha / Reiner Frank
  • Global Mental Health Group, Centre for International Health, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Mubarek Abera
Published Online: 2016-11-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2016-0089



Teachers perception of child mental health problems and their attitude to school-based mental health services helps in designing early intervention strategies aimed at promoting the service. However, little is known in this regard among primary school teachers in Ethiopia. Therefore, this study assessed perceptions and attitude of primary school teachers to child mental health problem and school-based mental health programs in Jimma town, southwest Ethiopia in 2013.


A cross-sectional study design was implemented among 568 primary school teachers in Jimma town, from 1 to 30 October 2013. Perceptions and attitude of teachers to children with mental health problems and school mental health related information were assessed using a structured self- administered questionnaire.


About 40% of teachers recognized the list of psychopathology items presented to them as child mental health problems while 54.4% of them rated child mental health problem as severe. Externalizing behaviors were perceived as the most severe problems. Teaching experience and teaching in public schools were significantly associated with the perception of severe type of child mental health problems. About 95% of teachers acknowledged that school-based mental health programs are important but limited availability was reported.


Despite the high problem severity ratings, teachers’ perception of the psychopathology as a mental health problem in children was low. There was also a favorable attitude on the importance and the need of school-based child mental health programs. Thus, creating mental health awareness for teachers and establishing school mental health services to intervene in child mental health problem is crucial.

Keywords: child mental health problems; Ethiopia; perception; primary school teachers; school mental health service


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About the article

Received: 2016-07-29

Accepted: 2016-09-02

Published Online: 2016-11-12

Conflict of interest: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

Authors’ contribution: HK contributed in idea conception, topic selection, write up of proposal for funding, data analysis, write up of results and the manuscript. MA, HB and RF contributed idea generation in title selection, contributed in organizing the references that were important to the study, commented on both the proposal draft and the results as well as manuscript write up.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, Volume 30, Issue 1, 20160089, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2016-0089.

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