On this page you can find information about:
- ways to integrate mental health and wellbeing across your whole school or college
- resources to use in your setting.
Governments across the UK recognise the need to include mental health and wellbeing with the taught curriculum for schools.
The Department for Education in England has published a package of support for all schools, to support the implementation and teaching of the Relationships Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum.
Its guidance supports the wider work of schools in helping to foster pupil wellbeing and develop resilience. It lays out areas for schools to cover through RSHE, one of which is ‘mental wellbeing’. The mental wellbeing area for both primary and secondary touches on themes including managing and talking about emotions, recognising signs of mental ill health and practising self-care.
The guidance also brings together all existing information available to schools, including the Mental Wellbeing teacher training module, the statutory guidance, guides for parents and guidance on engaging parents and carers in relationships education.
There are many ways that information about mental health and wellbeing can be integrated across the curriculum and throughout school and college culture.
It is important to make sure that pupils have regular opportunities to talk openly about mental health across all areas of school and college life.
In a survey conducted in 2021, we found that over 90% of children and young people thought that mental health and wellbeing should be taught in schools.
By supporting pupils to better understand their own mental health, how to take care of it and how to talk about it, schools and colleges can encourage more open discussions and help break down any stigma around mental health.
Schools and colleges can do this in different ways:
- by having a named senior mental health lead to have strategic oversight of a school/college ethos which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing
- through structured lessons via the RSHE curriculum
- promoting key events across the academic year, like Children’s Mental Health Week (held every year in February), World Mental Health Day (held every year on 10 October) and Mental Health Awareness Week (held in May)
- running a wellbeing week for pupils and staff
- providing CPD opportunities for staff on mental health and wellbeing
- including mental health and wellbeing as a standing agenda item in meetings with staff, governors, the senior leadership team, parents/carers, as well as in any newsletters
- engaging with parents and carers
- giving pupils regular opportunities through tutor time or small groups to talk about mental health and wellbeing
- regularly celebrating learning that is not only associated with attainment
- making sure that pupils and staff know the routes available for them to get support if they need it
- providing access to a range of reading materials that discuss mental health and wellbeing. The Reading Well scheme recommends a list of books for children and young people that cover all aspects of mental health in an accessible way.
- offering a range of lunchtime and after school clubs and activities that support wellbeing such as art club, yoga and football
- Encouraging pupils to look after their own mental health and wellbeing where they are able to.
By having a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, schools and colleges will be better placed to respond to the individual needs of their community and will create a culture that supports emotional wellbeing and resilience within their setting.
The CARE animation is aimed at all staff working in schools and colleges. It recognises the importance of supporting children and young people’s mental health, and offers a simple principle to remember - CARE: (Curious, Approachable, Refer, Empathy). An accompanying poster and guidance notes are available to download.
An animation and accompanying teacher toolkit, aimed at Key stage 3 secondary school pupils, which gives young people a better understanding of mental health and self-care.
An animation and accompanying teacher toolkit for primary schools, designed to help begin conversations about mental health in the classroom and beyond.
Termly calendars of curriculum themes and occasions linked to mental health from Mentally Healthy Schools, with activity ideas and suggestions for each theme.
Guidance for further education staff on a number of mental health concerns including unhealthy relationships, eating disorders and anxiety.
An instructional case study from a school who set up a working group looking at diversifying their curriculum, and ensuring it is representative of their student population.
Teacher guidance on teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing, along with an accompanying suite of 18 lesson plans and resources for key stages 1 to 4.
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