Why does this matter?
In order to support students who will have a mental health problem for a variety of reasons, it is important to reach all parts of your school community and beyond. This is also because teachers, parents and other staff will be affected by mental health problems themselves. We all have mental health and anyone can develop a mental health problem at any time.
A whole-school approach is the best way to bring about changes to policy and practice to ensure everyone is fully on board, from governors to classroom assistants.
“You need a whole school ethos and sense that we talk about these problems openly and that there are different channels.”
Fabian de Fabiani, Humanities Teacher, Townley Grammar School
What does it look like?
The National Children's Bureau have created a guide to a whole school framework for emotional well-being and mental health for school leaders and a self-assessment and improvement tool that is a good starting point.
From our experience of working with schools across the country, we have produced resources that ensure that mental health and mental health stigma work is fully embedded in your school. You can find all the links below.
Governors and senior leadership
Mental health stigma and discrimination can have a profound impact on young people’s lives; preventing them from fulfilling their potential or seeking help, leading to loneliness, depression and loss of confidence. Mental health stigma negatively impacts young people's educational outcomes. Our research findings are a powerful tool for sharing with senior management the value of tackling stigma in your school.
You can also get involved with our workplace programme which encourages employers and employees to tackle stigma and discrimination. This includes guidance on supporting staff who may have mental health problems themselves.
To reach out to parents, we have an open letter written by a parent of a young person with experience of mental health problems appealing to other parents to get clued up about mental health. You can send this out to parents along with a description of the work you are doing with young people as a way to highlight the importance of the subject. We also have this leaflet to share with parents.
You can deliver this 15 minute presentation to a group of parents at a parents evening, or set up this short presentation on a screen to run on a loop so that parents can watch it (place the screen near the refreshments table to attract interest!)
Our recent campaign encourages parents to be ready to have a conversation about mental health with their children and includes links to further resources.
We also have a free Time to Change materials hub for your staff and pupils to create their own materials and download and print them.
Setting up or taking part in a local mental health network with other school leaders is a great way to discuss common issues, signpost to local resources and share the great work you are doing with others.
Check out our easy-to-use school leaders guide and read about other networks already running across England.
A key part of a whole school approach is ensuring that every young person who feels they may need support can ask for help from someone they trust and that mental health is normalised as a topic.
Access all our fact sheets and resources about mental health and what stigma actually looks like. Starting a conversation about mental health isn't always easy but it doesn't have to be hard. We've got tips and guidance that you can share with your staff and pupils.
Do you already have a whole school approach to mental health in your school? Any innovative practice you'd like to share with us? Email email@example.com