On this page you can find information about:
- mental health and wellbeing policies
- developing a mental health and wellbeing policy in your setting
A whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing is best served by a separate mental health and wellbeing policy.
This document should explicitly bring together other policies that address mental health issues, such as safeguarding, anti-bullying and SEND, to ensure the approaches within them are aligned.
A mental health and wellbeing policy should aim to:
- describe your school or college’s approach to mental health issues
- increase understanding and awareness of mental health issues to better facilitate early intervention
- alert staff to warning signs and risk factors
- provide guidance to all staff, including non-teaching staff and governors, in supporting pupils experiencing a mental health problem
- provide support and guidance to pupils experiencing a mental health problem, as well as guidance for their parents and carers.
Although schools are not required to have a standalone policy on mental health, policies should be consistent with schools’ duties under the Equality Act 2010. This Act recognises that a mental health condition that adversely affects behaviour amounts to a disability.
It’s not known how many schools have a separate mental health policy, but a government review of 90 primary and secondary schools found that – despite evidence of whole-school philosophies within other policies (particularly behaviour or anti-bullying policies), only four schools had published separate mental health policies online.
Some key questions to consider in your setting:
- Does your school or college have a mental health policy?
- Does it address the mental health of staff as well as pupils?
- If you don’t have a separate mental health policy, do your related policies sufficiently promote mental health?
If you are developing your mental health and wellbeing policy, you may want to consider the following activities:
- holding an annual policy review and making sure that suggested revisions are agreed by the senior leadership team (SLT)
- scheduling a yearly meeting with the SLT for wider policy reviews and thinking about how mental health and wellbeing can be considered within your school or college’s other policies
- establishing a clear and transparent process for developing policies and, where appropriate, consulting pupils and parents and carers in creating and informing this policy
- creating a Mental Health Action Group or a parent and carer group that can meet yearly to review and inform any changes to your mental health and wellbeing policy
- displaying your mental health and wellbeing policies in your school or college – for instance in the staffroom or reception area. Could you put a mental health and wellbeing statement on your school or college website?
Gordon Primary School in London have created a thorough mental health and wellbeing policy which aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for the whole school community, and recognises that mental health is just as important as physical health.
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