How to promote good mental health in schools and colleges


We know that life can be stressful sometimes. There’s a lot of pressure in day to day life, but it isn’t just those in full time jobs that can begin to feel weighed down, it can happen to anyone, including pupils and students as they move through their education.

Just like staff in any business it’s important to make sure that they’re offered the right support to help them with any mental health and wellbeing challenges they may face. And it’s something the government is well aware of, offering guidance and assistance to schools and colleges that may need help.

Helping students excel

Giving young people support is crucial to making sure they get the most out of their time in education. Put simply good mental health and wellbeing will help children and young people develop, attend school regularly, engage in learning while they’re there and fulfil their potential.

Achieving that does place a responsibility on schools and colleges to provide a safe, calm and supportive learning environment and early targeted support for pupils and learners who need help.

As the Department for Education’s guidance states: “Embedding an evidence-based, holistic, whole school or college approach helps achieve this. Schools and colleges should identify and train a mental health lead. The mental health lead should be a member of staff empowered to develop and oversee their setting’s whole school or college approach.”

There is funding available (in England at least) to train a mental health lead, with grants of £1,200 for eligible state-funded schools and colleges.

“Training will support the senior mental health leads to develop and implement a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. They must start their training by 31 March 2025,” according to the DfE.

Help is at hand

There are a wealth of resources available to schools and colleges to help them develop their approach to improving mental health and wellbeing for pupils and students.

The DfE created a resource hub in collaboration with Mentally Healthy Schools and Anna Freud. It delivers a host of options to help primary and secondary schools and further education facilities, offering advice and practical resources to better understand and promote pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

As part of the methodology it sets out eight principles for a whole-school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing:

  • Leadership and management
  • School ethos and environment
  • Curriculum, teaching and learning
  • Student voice
  • Staff development, health and wellbeing
  • Identifying needs and monitoring impact
  • Working with parents/carers
  • Targeted support

It’s hoped that if the eight principles are applied consistently they will help contribute towards protecting and promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, giving them the best opportunity as they progress through the education system.

It’s important to realise that mental health and wellbeing can be challenging for everyone, including those in education. The more work that’s done to create an environment that understand that, and offers support, the more a new generation of talent will be able to achieve.

Find out more about promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges from the Department for Education.

Access resources for a whole-school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing