Senior mental health lead training is a major training initiative that combines the expertise of Anna Freud Centre course leaders with a valuable, engaging community of practice, to support senior mental health leads in building a sustainable, whole school approach.

Senior Mental Health Lead training

Who is it for?

If you have strategic responsibility for mental health in your setting, this offer is tailor-made for you. The practical course uses a robust evidence base to upskill senior leaders to influence, promote and embed the whole school or college approach to positive mental health and wellbeing that is sustainable.

‘Senior mental health lead training - a community-wide approach to improving mental health outcomes in your school or FE college ’ is the right course for:

  • Newly designated Senior Mental Health Leads
  • Senior Mental Health Leads that have been in post over a longer period of time

Entry requirements

To successfully apply for this course, you must have strategic responsibility for mental health in your setting.

What are the benefits to me and my school?

Through this course you will build your own personalised plan to put in place a whole school or college approach to mental health awareness. The aim is to support the identification and understanding of mental health needs.  You will learn practical skills to enable you to measure pupil wellbeing, work more effectively in partnership with local mental health services, prioritise staff wellbeing, and promote good mental health across the curriculum and the wider school community.

This will equip you with the necessary skills to successfully meet the core outcomes identified in the Green Paper.

By the end of the two-day course Designated Senior Mental Health Leads will be able to:

  • Articulate a plan for how they will put in place a whole-school approach to positive mental health and wellbeing, which embodies respect and values diversity.
  • Set out how they will make use of the existing systems to put in place a whole school-approach to mental health and wellbeing throughout the school environment.
  • Illustrate how they will use any formal curriculum teaching opportunities and resources in the school/college to promote good mental health and outline how they will use existing systems to implement this.
  • Develop a plan for how they will involve the student body in the school/college in the co-production and embedding of their whole school approach, including identifying opportunities for peer-led wellbeing support.
  • Demonstrate how they will work with all staff in the school/college to raise mental health awareness and literacy, using existing established systems.
  • Explain how they will make use of existing systems and staffing within their school/college to support earlier identification of, and intervention for, pupils/students with mental health issues.
  • Outline how they will work with/through the mental health provision in their local area in order to develop a good understanding of outcome measures used by mental health professionals and recognize any gaps that need filling in terms of mental health provision for their pupils/students in the school/college setting.
  • Map the geography of mental health service provision in their local area and set out their plan for how best to embed interaction with those that are relevant to their particular setting.
  • Lay out a plan for how they will involve parents/carers/families and the outside community (with an awareness of the cultural context they are operating in), to ensure, where possible that they ‘buy into’ the culture of wellbeing the school/college is trying to create, and are able to continue the focus on this outside school hours.
What is the time commitment?

Senior mental health lead training - a community-wide approach to improving mental health outcomes in your school or FE college is a two day course delivered on two dates over the term with self-study to be completed in the period between training dates. Delegates are also invited to attend an optional two hour reflective space. To maximise the benefits of the course, delegates are encouraged to complete all 7 modules and the 6 hours of self-study between the two training dates. Additional reflective tasks and reading will be provided for those wanting to continue their development beyond the course close.

What is the course structure?

The course is broken down into 7 modules delivered online in live sessions:

Day 1

  1. Understanding the role of a leader in creating an environment and culture that promotes wellbeing
  2. Embedding mental health and wellbeing into an existing curriculum
  3. Developing and supporting staff
  4. Engaging the systems around a child or young person

Day 2

  1. Identifying and understanding need
  2. Understanding the impact of Mental Health intervention
  3. Creating a targeted approach for referral and intervention
What other resources are available?

A community of practice channel will be in place for the duration of the course. We welcome discussion on the live sessions and the tasks, as well as any topics relating to the role.

How much does it cost?

The total cost for the course is £800 per delegate.

This price covers:

  • Two days of live sessions with our experts
  • An optional two hour reflective session
  • A wide range of evidence-based resources, including a handbook
  • Access to a community of practice comprised by other education colleagues
How do I sign up and access the Department for Education funding?


To apply for this course and access the DfE grant funding, you should follow these steps:

  1. Check eligibility on the DfE terms and conditions
  2. Book a place on the AFC SMHL training
  3. Complete DfE grant funding notification form
  4. When notified, apply within 2 weeks to receive funding

For full details on how to apply for the grant, click here.

If you have any questions, please email


  • 7 live modules over two training days and an optional 2 hour reflective session

Download Timetable

The Anna Freud Centre brings together those with a stake in the mental health of children and young people. Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a bi-monthly e-newsletter and occasional updates about the Centre's training and events. 

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