Creating Mentally Healthy Schools
A Whole-School Approach to Mental Health
A whole-school approach means making child, staff and parent/carer mental health and wellbeing ‘everybody’s business’. It involves all parts of the school working together and being committed. It needs partnership working between governors, senior leaders, teachers and all school staff as well as parents, carers and the wider community (Mentally Healthy Schools). For more information visit https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/whole-school-approach/.
There are lots of helpful documents and frameworks to develop a whole-school approach to mental health, these include:
National Children’s Bureau: A whole school framework for emotional well being and mental health: a self-assessment and improvement tool for school leaders. Outlines a four-stage approach, including first identifying what is already in place in the school.
Public Health England: ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing: a whole school and college approach’.
DfE/NatCen Social Research/National Children’s Bureau: ‘Supporting mental health in schools and colleges’
School Policy - Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing
The policy document found here is the outcome of a collaboration between Bottisham Village College and the CAMH Learning and Development team, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. It is intended as a template for other secondary schools and will therefore be made available across the county. However, it is not meant to be adopted without due process and careful and thorough consideration of the individual school’s needs in relation to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of its pupils and staff.
Guidance as to how the policy could be customised can be found here.
Other useful resources for creating mentally healthy schools
Heads Together and the Anna Freud Centre have launched the Mentally Healthy Schools website which brings together quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing. Their aim is to increase staff awareness, knowledge and confidence to help you support your pupils. Resources include lessons plans, assemblies, films and general information on a range of topics and issues.
Schools in Mind Network:
The Schools in Mind Network is run by the Anna Freud Centre, by joining the network your school will be able to access a range of free resources. This includes films to use in lessons, assembly plans as well as a range of films featuring experts talking about different mental health issues and giving advice aimed at teaching staff. Joining the network also enables you to keep up to date with the 'You're never to Young to Talk About Mental Health' campaign.
For more information visit: Schools in Mind Network
Papyrus’ ‘Building Suicide-Safer Schools and Colleges: A guide for teachers and staff’ covers:
- Developing a Suicide Prevention Policy
- Asking About Suicide
- Responding to a Suicide
- Working with Community Support
Access the guide here: save the class toolkit: