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Title: “It's very important to my professors…at least most of them”: How messages from engineering faculty and staff influence student beliefs around seeking help for their mental health.
Studies have shown that distressed engineering undergraduates are less likely to seek help for a mental health concern when compared to their non-engineering peers. To understand more about the factors that influence mental health related help seeking in undergraduate engineering students, a qualitative study was conducted based on the integrated behavioral model (IBM). Through this study, 33 students were asked about their beliefs related to seeking help for a mental health concern, as guided by the IBM. The current study aims to characterize the messages that students receive (either explicitly or implicitly) from engineering faculty and staff that might influence their thoughts around help seeking. After qualitative analysis, three common themes were identified: 1) Supportive explicit and implicit messages around help seeking are often tied to an individual faculty or staff member, 2) College level change around mental health is viewed positively if appropriately communicated, and 3) Students perceive lack of flexibility and empathy from faculty as not being supportive of student mental health. The results of the study provide guidance for how engineering faculty and staff can use explicit and implicit messaging to create an environment that is supportive of mental health and professional help seeking.  more » « less
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American Society for Engineering Education
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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