YoungMinds Supporting Schools: a Whole School Approach

The Prime Minister recently announced a comprehensive plan to further the transformation of mental health services and support for children and young people. This includes specific key areas that will impact on schools:

  • Every secondary school will receive mental health training and extra training for teachers in order to better support students experiencing mental health problems.
  • Strengthening the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff.

There are some very well known statistics in relation to mental health but perhaps the figures that might resonate with schools more than any other are that on average three children in every classroom will have a diagnosable mental health condition and more than 50% of all life time cases of mental health begin before the age of 14.

Every day, schools feel the impact. This also means that more than ever the case for prevention and early intervention needs to be made – to harness the resilience building assets available to schools and communities, and stop problems young people are facing from escalating, which would then reduce the demand on clinical services.

YoungMinds Supporting Schools

There’s plenty we can do to support schools to start making “resilient moves” for their pupils using the Academic Resilience Approach as a basis, with a clear evidence base that doing so can lead to better educational outcomes and attendance.

We can help with increasing the confidence of school staff, not just teachers, in mental health awareness - and specifically issues that we hear time and again come up for schools such as self-harm, online pressures, adolescence and transition. We can help staff understand what your pupils are going through, be aware of what they can do to help and support your students, and where to get further help. YoungMinds works with hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers every year to develop their understanding and responses and we deliver training on key issues with a clear focus on the practical application and resilience building, not just the theory.

Whole School Approach

It is recognised within the resilience evidence base, that a whole school approach is effective in responding to the needs of the pupil population. Resilience building offers the chance “to beat the odds but also to change the odds.” (Hart and Gagnon).

By whole school, we mean involving not only every individual within the school community: pupils, parents and all staff and volunteers from the Head through to the caretaker and the cook, but also through strategy and leadership and the systems and structures within the school. Everyone has the chance to understand and implement practical things which will contribute to changes in practice and benefit all the students in the school.

Additionally, this includes the school’s relationship to the local community and wider mental health system, and your confidence and ability to commission relevant services. It can include strengthening relationships with local providers and commissioners to improve pathways into services for children and young people.

To talk to us about supporting your school, please email training@youngminds.org.uk

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