Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration
BUILDING AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS: CREATING A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR BLACK, INDIGENOUS, AND/OR PEOPLE OF COLOR
Kimberly NortonIllinois State University
Research suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the need for mental health support, with an alarming increase in the number of adolescents reporting that their mental health has worsened during this period (Rodriguez, 2022). Well before the pandemic, substantial evidence indicated that young people were facing a rising tide of mental ill-health, including anxiety, depressive symptoms, psychological distress, and suicide. The transitionary period to adulthood is a developmentally sensitive time, and mental illness is diagnosed heavily during this phase. Accessibility to doctors, therapists, and clinicians is often impeded due to wait time and lack of insurance. Coupled with this, students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students are further impacted due to experiencing microaggressions, lack of cultural sensitivity by peers and adults, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), subtractive schooling, and overall barriers to mental health support. This mixed-research study used a 90-Day Cycle of Inquiry to understand the problem of lack of support for the mental health needs of United High School (pseudonym) students. Three primary drivers were identified: 1) transformative social-emotional learning, 2) authentic relationships, and 3) audacious hope. The intervention in this study was a Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Data were collected from key stakeholders (staff, students, and administrators) through pre- and post-surveys, focus groups, and observations. Four primary themes emerged: 1) lack of awareness for mental health warning signs; 2) uncertainty of who and where students can receive support for mental health; 3) all races' mental health needs are not supported; 4) students are not seen and heard. Transformative Social Emotional Learning (TSEL) provided evidence in reaching more BIPOC students throughout this cycle of inquiry by fostering authentic relationships and inspiring audacious hope for students by breaking the long-lasting stigma associated with being open about mental health.
Norton, Kimberly M., "Building Authentic Relationships: Creating a Supportive Environment for Black, Indigenous, and / or People of Color" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 1698.