The purpose of this research paper was to highlight the factors students and school staff identify as contributors to mental health issues students attending rural, low socioeconomic high schools experience and the specific mental health issues they witness most. A collective case study was conducted in four rural high schools, two in Kansas and two in West Virginia. Field work at each school involved observations, document collection, and semi-structured focus group interviews with students and school staff. The factors identified as contributors to poor student mental health were pressure, technology, home life, bullying, and stigma. Anxiety, stress, depression, lack of health coping, and suicidal comments emerged as the specific mental health struggles students deal with the most. Recommendations for practice include practical ways to address the identified contributors of poor student mental health in rural schools and strategies to normalize mental health in the rural school environment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Included in

Education Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.