Mental wellness- should your school promote it & how?

As a school governor,  ‘mental wellness’ of staff & pupils may not have been on the agenda of your strategic duties but it is becoming more & more evident that we all nbeed to play our part in making sure minds, as well as bodies, remain as healthy as possible.

A new report by the education and youth ‘think and action-tank’ LKMco and the school mental health organisation Minds Ahead looks into the scale and causes of youth mental health issues.

 

Mental wellness

  • School leaders including governors have the power to set the climate within their schools and to place pupil wellbeing at the heart of their decisions. Too many schools pass on the stress of what could be low stakes exams (like SATs) to pupils.
  • School leaders should be true to their moral purpose and prioritise pupil needs in the face of perceived accountability pressures, so that decisions are taken with due
    consideration for their impact on pupil and teacher wellbeing.
  • Schools should review potential risk factors for pupil wellbeing within their school
    community. Such factors might include stressed teachers, pared back PSHE provision;
    unhealthy demands on pupils and teachers; and inappropriate forms of behaviour
    management. Tools such as the NCB’s school wellbeing framework4
    can help.
  • Unless there is a clear reason (such as safeguarding concerns) not to do so, parents
    should be placed at the heart of decisions taken about their child’s wellbeing and
    mental health.

Mental health is too often seen as separate to other key concerns for schools such as
SEND and safeguarding.

  • Safeguarding leads and SENCOs should receive thorough mental health training and
    should work closely with parents (where appropriate) to implement appropriate
    interventions.
  • Regular safeguarding training for all school staff should make it clear that concerns about mental health constitute safeguarding concerns and that any concerns should be passed on to the senior leader responsible for safeguarding who can follow up as necessary.
  • Safeguarding leads should work with SENCOs and have adequate expertise in mental health as a key part of their job. This should include in working with parents to develop support plans.

 

Recommendation from Minds Ahead

This report shows that we need a fundamental rethink of school-based mental health support. Minds Ahead believes that schools should remain true to their core: inspirational places of learning, growth, discovery and enjoyment for all children. Minds Ahead sees the need for a new and comprehensive school-based mental health system, relentlessly focused on universal, pre-clinical, supportive and evidence-informed activities that schools can employ.

Read full report

 

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