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Provide training for staff with responsibilities for mental health and wellbeing

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On this page you can find information about:

  • how to identify training needs

  • sources of free and paid training


Building a whole-school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing is a major cultural shift for many schools and colleges.  

Research shows that school and college staff welcome their new responsibilities for promoting mental health in school, but that some feel that they are lacking confidence about their new role. Training and development play an important part in motivating staff to embrace a new culture and feel valued. 

Despite tight school budgets, 29% of primary school teachers and 34% of secondary teachers said their school provided training opportunities to spot the signs of pupil mental health problems [i]. 

Recent evidence also shows that while many teachers have received training on how to spot signs of mental health problems, many still require training and information on what services are available locally, as well as further clarity around the process of supporting pupils with mental health issues. 

[i] Teacher Tapp survey commissioned by Anna Freud, 2020. Unpublished.

Identifying training needs

Training is most effective when it meets an identified need.  An integrated whole-school policy on mental health and wellbeing could combine: 

  •  findings from staff and pupil surveys to identify needs


  • a clear strategy in the school or college improvement plan about how to meet those needs


  • a training plan to ensure those plans are put into practice and reviewed regularly.


Training is not just for teachers. All school staff - from administrative staff, to caretakers and catering staff, to headteachers - are part of a whole-school culture to promote mental health and wellbeing.  

Holding or commissioning training

Many organisations and consultancies, including Anna Freud, offer training on mental health and wellbeing to schools and colleges, looking at both student and staff wellbeing.  When holding or commissioning training, it is useful to think about the following: 

  • Is the training you’re looking to offer a more general introductory training that could be appropriate for all staff, perhaps as part of an Inset day?


  • Is the training more specialist or suitable for staff in a specific role?


    For example, our Senior Mental Health Lead training is aimed at individuals with strategic responsibility for mental health


  • Who is best placed to deliver the training – for example, could it be delivered by an internal member of staff, or would it be better delivered by an external expert?


  • What is the best format to deliver training in your setting?


  • Have you consulted staff for feedback to inform decision making around the commissioning of a training? It is important to identify what training is needed in your setting.


  • Could you collaborate with other schools or colleges to commission a training for a specific development need?


  • Is the training provider an expert in their field? Can you see previous feedback examples from the training?