Young people with anxiety disorders attending the Aotearoa/New Zealand Regional Health Schools : barriers and facilitators to reintegration, as reported by Regional Health School teachers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Anxiety is one of the most common experiences of psychological distress experienced by young people in Aotearoa New Zealand (Ministry of Health, 2018). This thesis explored the barriers and facilitators to reintegrating young people with anxiety disorders into regular school, tertiary education, or other vocational pathways, when they are attending the Aotearoa New Zealand Regional Health Schools (RHS). This research was conducted within a qualitative framework with a realist/essentialist epistemology. Nine RHS teachers from across Aotearoa New Zealand participated in semi-structured interviews, asking about their experiences of working with young people with anxiety disorders, and what they perceived to be the barriers and facilitators to reintegration for young people with anxiety disorders attending RHS. The data was analysed using Thematic Analysis with a focus on semantic content. Several themes were identified based on interpretations of the RHS teachers’ accounts. RHS teachers perceived that the whānau, regular schools, and regular school teachers of young people with anxiety disorders need more assistance to be able to support these young people in their reintegration. RHS teachers also spoke of needing more training specific to anxiety disorders, as well as more support around their professional wellbeing due to the unique nature of their role. This thesis emphasises the importance of providing wider and more systemic support to facilitate successful reintegration into education of young people with anxiety. It would be beneficial to conduct further research exploring the experiences of the whānau, regular school teachers, and young people themselves with anxiety disorders attending RHS; along with the current study, this would provide a holistic view of the needs of the support systems for young (school-aged) people experiencing anxiety in Aotearoa New Zealand.