Thriving: Steps towards a mentally healthy school so no child faces mental health problems alone (2023)

The mental health and wellbeing of students has become everybody’s business and it impacts everyone. But how confident do you feel about tackling this in your school?

As the UK’s leading provider of school-based children’s mental health services, Place2Be can provide your school staff with expert training. We have the experience to support your school community with both the know-how and the tools to improve the emotional wellbeing of children, young people, parents, and teachers. We call this a ‘whole school approach’. Last year, we provided an embedded mental health service in over 450 UK primary and secondary schools supporting a school community of around 250,000 children and young people. But our support for schools doesn’t end here. School staff across England, Scotland, and Wales, including you, can benefit from our CPD certified training programmes

In 2018, the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care jointly publishedTransforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health: A Green Paper. The Green Paper set out an ambition for “earlier intervention and prevention”, and our programmes and our programmes are helping to make this a reality by:

  • Building knowledge in school communities.
  • Assisting school staff to better understand how they can support children’s mental health.
  • Enabling the support of staff wellbeing.

We achieve this by delivering training for schools:

  • To staff that can lead on strategy and steer change via our Senior Mental Health Leads Training.
  • To the wider school workforce, creating a shared language to improve children’s mental health through our Mental Health Champions Foundation Training.

How can Place2Be help?

If you are feeling daunted by the challenges involved in creating a mentally healthy school, and pondering where to begin, or if you want guidance in delivering your plans, we are here to help!

Our expert training equips people with the skills and experience they need to support children and young people.Our training courses are informed by over 25 years’ experience delivering mental health services, and this was recognised when our Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme was nominated for a Charity Award earlier this year!

There has never been a more important time for teachers to feel equipped and confident in identifying and responding to children’s mental health needs. 1 in 6 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. That’s 5 children in every classroom. Therefore, supporting children at the earliest stage is vital.

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Our training programmes will help you develop your understanding of mental health, giving you the confidence to make a difference to the lives of children and young people.

Senior Mental Health Leads training

Our CPD-certified Senior Mental Health Leads training programme is Department for Education (DfE) quality-assured. It will support you in identifying your school’s priorities and develop strategic approaches to address those needs. You will develop your leadership skills within positive mental health and build a network, sharing best practices with peers from other schools.

We will provide structure to help you formulate a clear plan. Our self-assessment tool reflects evidence from research and Place2Be’s experience in schools. The tool guides participants through thinking about the strategies, policies and approaches in their school that support mental health, what works well and any gaps to focus on. We also offer the opportunity to participate in two individual consultations with a Place2Be clinician experienced in working with schools. These consultations help ensure that Mental Health Leads can apply their learning to their unique school context.

Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme

Our CPD-certified Mental Health Champions Foundation programme is an online children’s mental health training coursedeveloped from ourwork in schools. The programme aims to enhance professionals’ understanding of children’s mental health and introduce approaches that foster positive wellbeing in schools, colleges, and communities.

The 5-week programme will count toward your CPD development and is free for all school staff, including; teachers, teaching assistants, lunchtime supervisors and school governors.

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Developed to be as accessible as possible, there are no fixed timings, so you can access the course via any device at a time that suits you, and it’s broken down int 15-minute chunks to fit around your day.

Thriving: Steps towards a mentally healthy school so no child faces mental health problems alone (1)

How will Place2Be training benefit you and your school?

Our training courses will not only benefit you, but they will also benefit your school too.

By taking part in our Senior Mental Health Leads training, you will be able to:

  • Audit your existing mental health activity and identify areas for improvement  
  • Take a strategic approach to mental health in your school context 
  • Hone your leadership skills to effect real change for your pupils and staff 
  • Train withour team of qualified clinicians who have experience working with schools
  • Access a range of additionalresources andbenefits for your wider team and school community 
  • Build a network of support 

By taking part in our Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme, you will be able to:

  • Determine the factors that contribute to positive mental health and wellbeing
  • Explore how early experiences shape the way we perceive ourselves and relate to others, and how those experiences create the pathways in the brain that support our development. 
  • Understand what a child’s behaviour might communicate about their underlying needs
  • Reflect on the importance of positive mental health for everyone

What are people saying about our programmes?

Senior Mental Health Leads training programme

Over 800 senior leaders are already taking part in the course

  • 96%of surveyed participants told us that after completing ourprogrammethey have a better understanding of their role asa Senior Mental Health Lead compared to47%beforehand.“The course very much clarified for me my role in leading positive mental health in my school.” Deputy Headteacher
  • 93%of surveyed senior mental health lead participants found the consultations with our trainers, who are qualified clinicians experienced in workingwith schools, helpful for developing their personal leadership of mental health.​

“Thank you to my trainers for facilitating such a brilliant course. I have learned so much and have been able tocascade so much to my team that is already making such a difference to our children and staff.” Headteacher

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  • 89% of survey respondents tell us that taking part in our Senior Mental Health Leads programme has given them a clear plan of how to prioritise their school’s mental health activity compared to 26% beforehand. 

” We have utilised this (programme) to create a mental health and wellbeing action plan for our school. It was great to meet with and learn from colleagues, discussing and sharing the practice taking place in our schools.” Headteacher

Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme

Over 60,000 school staff have taken part in the programme.

  • 94% would recommend the programme

“… I now feel more confident supporting children’s mental health within my school and in the wider school community. Completing this course has also made me think more about how I need to look after my own wellbeing and mental health to enable me to fully support others ….I have already put a lot of what I have learnt into practice”. Teaching Assistant

  • 91% think the course has increased their capacity to lead a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing within their work

The Mental Health Champions training has been second to none! It covered all areas and was so well delivered that it is has stuck with me and I refresh my knowledge by revisiting the different sections”. Pastoral support in a primary school

  • 71% learned something in the course that resulted in a change in their actions, behaviour, or attitude in their workplace.

“I have really enjoyed this course. I have found it very informative, and it has had a positive impact on my practice. It has also made me consider the importance of self-care and my own mental health. Thank you so much”. – Teacher in Scotland

We are passionate about what we do and the difference it makes to school communities, which is why we’re delighted to share news of the positive impact our approach is having in schools. We hope this will inspire you to join us on the journey of transforming your school community into a more mentally healthy place, in a sustainable way.

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How do I book?

More information on Place2Be’s training can be found on our website.

If you want to join over 800 senior leaderswho are already taking part in our CPD certified Senior Mental Health Leads training programme, please visit the Senior Mental Health Leads course webpage. As a Department for Education quality assured provider, grant funding is available for eligible schools in England.

To book a free place on our Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme, visit the website to see upcoming cohort dates.

We regularly release new dates for both our training programmes, so if you don’t find dates that suit you right now, do come back and visit our webpage later, when you might find a date that suits you better.

Thriving: Steps towards a mentally healthy school so no child faces mental health problems alone (2)

The journey doesn’t end there

Once you complete our training, you will join over 9,000 education professionals in the Place2Be Staffroom, a dedicated space where you can access exclusive additional resources, tips, and learning.

In the Staffroom, you can:

  • Gain access to new materialsandtools to foster positive wellbeing in schools
  • Access projects from Place2Be’s Art Room to use in your school
  • View live webinarsand Q&A sessions on a host of mental health issues 
  • Continue to learn about the mental health of the whole school approach
  • Share your experiences and tips with your colleagues across the UK 

We know that our training positively impacts the lives of children and young people across the country—and we will endeavour to extend that impact as far as possible in the future.

(Video) Molly Wright: How every child can thrive by five | TED


How can schools support children's mental health? ›

Most schools will likely integrate physical health education into the curriculum already, but dedicated lessons or workshops on healthy eating, physical exercise and managing stress will all help to strengthen a positive body-mind relationship in your students.

How can we improve children's mental health? ›

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include: being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. having time and freedom to play, indoors and outdoors. being part of a family that gets along well most of the time.

How can teachers support children's mental health? ›

Let pupils know you're happy to talk about how they're feeling. Encourage children and young people to talk about how they're feeling and let them know that you are there to listen if they need to discuss anything. Build confident, open, healthy and trusting relationships with pupils to help them feel safe.

How can schools improve mental and emotional health? ›

  1. Promote positive body image and self-esteem. ...
  2. Teach stress management skills. ...
  3. Encourage outdoor classes. ...
  4. Promote emotional literacy education. ...
  5. Foster a sense of belonging and community connection at school. ...
  6. Provide students with mental health support in the form of a school counselor, social worker, or psychologist.
21 Mar 2022

How does school affect mental health positively? ›

Schools have the potential to support mental health via positive friendships and learning new skills, which tend to improve mental health (Prati et al., 2018) as well as via schools enabling learning of social skills and emotional self-management (Durlak et al., 2011).

What are 5 strategies to improve mental health? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  • Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  • Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  • Learn new skills. ...
  • Give to others. ...
  • Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

What is the role of teacher in promoting mental health? ›

Teaching socio-emotional skills, such as emotion management, conflict management, problem solving skills can strengthen students' socio-emotional competence and enhance their psychological resilience.

What is a whole school approach to mental health? ›

A whole-school approach involves all parts of the school working together and being committed. It needs partnership working between senior leaders, teachers and all school staff, as well as parents, carers and the wider community.

Why is mental health important in schools? ›

Studies have shown the value of developing comprehensive school mental health programs in helping students achieve academically and have access to experiences that build social skills, leadership, self-awareness, and caring connections to adults in their school and community.

Why is mental health care important in schools? ›

Mental health education in schools can significantly impact students current and future mental health. It can also contribute to eliminating stigma and foster resiliency through the awareness of mental health. The benefits of this type of education is insurmountable.

How does the school environment affect the mental health of children? ›

Low school connectedness increases the risk (e5) for depressive symptoms, anxiety, violence, and bullying/mobbing whereas high school connectedness reduces that risk. A close social bond with fellow students further reduces the risk of developing mental health problems.

How does school affect a child's mental health? ›

Research shows that academic stress leads to less well-being and an increased likelihood of developing anxiety or depression. Additionally, students who have academic stress tend to do poorly in school. This shows how this stress can keep kids from doing as well as they could.

What are 4 strategies to enhance mental health? ›

10 tips to boost your mental health
  • Make social connection — especially face-to-face — a priority. ...
  • Stay active. ...
  • Talk to someone. ...
  • Appeal to your senses. ...
  • Take up a relaxation practice. ...
  • Make leisure and contemplation a priority. ...
  • Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. ...
  • Don't skimp on sleep.
4 Oct 2018

What are 7 behaviors for improving mental health? ›

7 Habits that Encourage Good Mental Health
  • Get some rest! Sleep is vital, although the adorable puppy is optional. ...
  • Think positive thoughts! Try to start the day on a positive note! ...
  • Exercise and eat well. ...
  • Give yourself a break! ...
  • Pick up a hobby! ...
  • Be mindful! ...
  • Open up!

How can we improve mental health? ›

10 tips to boost your mental health
  1. Make social connection — especially face-to-face — a priority. ...
  2. Stay active. ...
  3. Talk to someone. ...
  4. Appeal to your senses. ...
  5. Take up a relaxation practice. ...
  6. Make leisure and contemplation a priority. ...
  7. Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. ...
  8. Don't skimp on sleep.
4 Oct 2018

Why is mental health important for students? ›

The importance of mental health for students

Our mental health has a direct impact on our ability to take in new information, understand new concepts and master new skills. When struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, working on assignments and attending classes can become impossible.

How can we maintain mental health naturally? ›

  1. Value yourself: Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. ...
  2. Take care of your body: Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. ...
  3. Surround yourself with good people: ...
  4. Give yourself: ...
  5. Learn how to deal with stress: ...
  6. Quiet your mind: ...
  7. Set realistic goals: ...
  8. Break up the monotony:


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