On this page you can find information about:

  • Activities schools and colleges can use to increase the profile of mental health in the school community

Context

According to 2017 ONS figures, one in eight 5- to 19-year-olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed. This means that in a class of 32, four pupils could be experiencing poor mental health. Ensuring mental health and wellbeing is openly discussed encourages pupils and staff to seek help when they need it, and to listen to others.

Communicating a school vision is a key part of a whole-school or college approach to mental health. Ensuring that pupils, parents and carers, and staff have the opportunity to discuss or share any concerns they have about themselves or about others helps to reduce stigma and normalise mental health. By taking simple steps, schools and colleges can make sure that mental health and wellbeing has a strong visible presence that is underpinned by rigorous policy, planning and supportive action. Children and parents/carers can be involved in this by co-producing posters and other materials.

Raising the profile of mental health

Our 2020 survey found that schools and colleges used a range of creative activities to promote mental health and wellbeing – including posters and displays, assemblies and events, peer support initiatives, and group and individual support for parents and carers of children experiencing mental health problems.

You may want to consider the following questions:

  • What activities do you have in your school or college to raise the profile of mental health?
  • How do you evaluate how effective they are?
  • How could you improve the visibility of mental health in your setting?
  • How do you communicate your mental health policies and practice to the wider school community?

Signposting information and further support

School staff are not expected to be mental health specialists, but they play a key role in signposting pupils to further support when they need it. It is important to understand what different types of specialist help are available locally and nationally and to is publicise these throughout your education setting. By making this information visible through clear signposting, you can to ensure that pupils, staff, and parents and carers know how to access services.

Resources

Government guidance (England): Mental health and behaviour in schools

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