A Comparison of Mental Health Education: A Look into Dallas Schools




Ablon, Haley

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As “mental health” has become a more common topic of conversation in society in recent decades, it is essential that high schools are doing the best possible job of educating their students on the heavily stigmatized topic. Research has demonstrated the benefits of having a strong health program for aims of intervention and prevention, so it is no surprise that schools continue to include information about mental health in order to fight societal stigmas and encourage students to seek self-help. The United States is far too large to examine on a whole, as is the state of Texas—or even just the city of Dallas. So, I have selected three Dallas schools in particular to use as subjects in my thesis, which differ in funding (government dollars versus private sources) and religious affiliation (secular versus nonsecular). I will first discuss other research studies that have been conducted throughout the United States, outlining the benefits of having a strong program to introduce topics of mental health to students. From there, I will then seek to gain a better understanding of the variation among curricula among a sample of Dallas schools: namely, does the institution’s source of funding or religious affiliation affect how the information is taught? I will do this by drawing comparisons between the interview responses from three school faculty members. My aim is not to criticize any of the programs or to say how the curricula should be fixed/improved, but rather to use comparisons as a means of highlighting how the different methods may impact students. Finally, I will conclude by recapping all that I discovered, and discussing some further applications of my findings.

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