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Brenda McHugh, Co-Director of Mental Health in Schools

Brenda McHugh is Co-Director of the Service for Schools at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. She is a trained teacher and a consultant psychotherapist and has over 30 years’ experience of working to improve mental health in schools in the UK and in Scandinavia.

She is one of the co-founders of Pears Family School, a new Alternative Provision school for children, and their families, whose behaviour is beyond what can be coped with in mainstream classrooms.


Pears Family School has been visited twice by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge (September and December 2015) to gain an insight into the provision of alternative education for children with serious emotional and behavioural issues and their families.

She is interested in finding ways to integrate child and adult mental health support and education so that vulnerable children can access the very best teaching and therapeutic support in schools without fear of stigma.

Brenda delivers various trainings at the Centre including Mentalization-focussed Multi-Family Groups in Schools: a practical guide for how to set up and run and Multi-Family Therapy.