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Mental Health Awareness Training to be rolled out to secondary schools

Over 1,800 secondary schools and colleges will receive free Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) delivered by the leading mental health charity, the Anna Freud Centre, as part of a Government-funded drive to promote whole-school approaches to mental health.

MHAT is a national programme which will provide knowledge, skills and practical tools to staff working in secondary schools, to promote and integrate mental health and wellbeing across the whole school community.

The training is grounded on a rigorous evidence base and will take place across England in over 130 locations between September 2019 and February 2020. It covers:

  • What the evidence tells us about mental health difficulties in schools
  • Spotting the early signs of a mental health problem
  • Positive approaches to promoting mental health and wellbeing in the whole school community

This is the third phase of the rollout of the training programme and the training will be available throughout Autumn Term 2019 and Spring Term 2020 and is available for two members of staff from each school. It is open to all schools and colleges who have not already received training. 

Jaime Smith, Programme Director for the Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools Programme at the Anna Freud Centre said: “This training gives schools and colleges a vital evidence-based grounding in mental health. Addressing children’s mental and physical health is one of the most important things we can do for children and their families so that they can thrive and lead fulfilling and productive lives. Schools and colleges have really embraced the mental health agenda and we are delighted to be working with them.

”Being mental health aware is important but this training also equips schools and colleges with the first steps around what to do. Knowing how to support is vital not just for the young person’s but also for the teacher’s wellbeing.”

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Children and young people’s mental health is a top priority for this Government, which is why I am so pleased that the experts at the Anna Freud Centre will deliver the third year of training for staff in secondary schools – helping to make sure pupils get the help they need when they face difficulties in their life.

“This adds to a range of important work already taking place in schools to support pupils’ mental health, including connecting schools with NHS specialists in 25 trailblazer areas around the country and the introduction of health education on the curriculum from September 2020.”

One in eight (12.8%) five to 19 year olds in England have at least one mental disorder according to standardised diagnostic criteria. This equates to 1.25 million children and young people.

The Anna Freud Centre is the leading charity supporting schools to tackle mental health and its work reaches over 1 million children and young people in schools in England. Its work includes:

  • Running the world’s largest research trial into mental health interventions, commissioned by the Department for Education.
  • Mental Health Services and Schools and Colleges Link Programme– a programme of workshops commissioned by the Department for Education which has delivered to over 1,300 schools and to mental health professionals. The workshops bring together schools and colleges and mental health services to embed long-term collaboration and integrated working.
  • Schools in Mind, a 10,000 strong learning network to promote and share understanding about mental health in schools