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Training begins for mental health leads in schools and colleges

Schools and colleges to benefit from a trained senior mental health lead for those who need support.

23/09/21

Training begins for mental health leads in schools and colleges

Pupils in up to 7,800 schools and colleges will benefit from a trained senior mental health lead tasked with identifying those who need support and improving access to specialist services.

Senior leaders in eligible schools will be able to learn the knowledge and skills they need to roll out an effective ‘whole school or college approach’ to mental health and wellbeing, embedding it into their culture and making it a priority alongside academic recovery.

The plans include training on how to use existing mental health resources more effectively, identify students who need mental health support, and how to improve working with local mental health services so that children and young people who need specialist help get this as soon as possible.

The launch of this training comes as the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, publishes the result of her ‘Big Ask’ survey, which accounts for the views of 500,000 children in England – more than half of whom said that having good mental health was a priority for them.

The new Minister for Children and Families, Will Quince, said we owe it to children to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing for their resilience in the pandemic.

“Today marks an important step forward in our commitment to making wellbeing a central part of education recovery, by giving school and college staff the confidence to not only teach about good mental health but also understand what steps to take if they feel a pupil is struggling,” Quince said.

More teachers and education leaders are also set to benefit from improved guidance on developing good mental health practices, as the Department for Education, Public Health England, and the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition publish a new edition of guidance on taking a whole school and college approach to mental wellbeing.

This guidance, first published in 2015 and updated to reflect current need, will provide schools and colleges with further information on how to develop mental health and wellbeing practices that help support all their pupils, including through better leadership practices, effective working with local services, and a supportive culture and ethos.

The updated whole school approach to mental health guidance is supported by a range of research, which suggests that taking a coordinated approach to mental health and wellbeing can lead to improved emotional health and wellbeing in children and young people and help improve their readiness to learn.

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