Mentally Healthy Schools expands free site to be UK wide

1st September 2020  |  By: Michelle Cunliffe


Mentally Healthy Schools is expanding its resources to support primary schools across the UK. For the first time the site will provide schools with resources and information to address the specific curricula in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to meet the needs of all UK primary school children.

The Mentally Healthy Schools website is run by the Anna Freud Centre and has been funded by The Royal Foundation as a legacy project of the Heads Together campaign. The site is designed to improve primary school staff’s awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing.

The expansion follows a consultation with teachers, mental health organisations and stakeholders across the UK to ensure its resources meet the needs of schools in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

As well as providing free resources for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, there is also a resource library which can be filtered and which includes guidance on whole-school approaches to mental health for schools in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These have been added to an extensive collection of lesson plans, classroom activities, assembly plans and information already hosted on the site, which can be used by schools across the UK and beyond. All resources are quality assured so that schools can use them, confident in the knowledge that they have been checked by mental health experts.

An estimated one in 10 children in the UK has an identifiable mental health condition – that’s around three children in every class. Early intervention and support is key in order to prevent children developing mental health problems. This website aims to give primary school staff the information and practical resources they need to support pupils before problems develop, and to encourage children and staff to talk openly and confidently about mental health and wellbeing.

Over half a million people have accessed the Mentally Healthy Schools site so far and it has been used by almost every country in the world. The site includes over 600 resources for primary schools from over 200 organisations to promote children’s mental health in primary schools.

Jaime Smith, Director of the Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools Programme at the Anna Freud Centre, says: “We are delighted to build on Mentally Healthy Schools’ great success by extending its guidance and resources for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The expansion of Mentally Healthy Schools will ensure that it is even more useful and accessible for school staff and schools across the UK.

“It is a great opportunity for us to help meet the growing demand on schools and support them to promote mental health across the UK.”

Mentally Healthy Schools was originally developed in partnership between the Anna Freud Centre, Young Minds, Place2Be and The Royal Foundation as a legacy project of the Heads Together campaign. From 1st April 2020 the Anna Freud Centre took full responsibility and ownership of the development and delivery of the Mentally Healthy Schools website including all content and quality assurance of associated resources.

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