My Work in Schools and Colleges
With almost 13 years experience of working in schools, I recognise the vital role schools can play in supporting children and young people’s mental health and have campaigned over the years to make the discussion of mental health compulsory to the school curriculum: find out more here. In line with this, the Mental Health Model for Schools I developed aims to guide schools in how best to provide support to their students.
The model is in line with recent government legislation and clearly states the need for mental health to be a priority for us all. It offers a whole-school approach to mental health, whilst highlighting how targeted interventions play a key role in providing strategies to support children and young people’s mental health. A more in-depth discussion of the mental health model for schools can be found at any of the links listed below:
Mental Health in Schools Support Package
There are a large number of systems, strategies and tools that can assist schools in tackling their student’s mental health and wellbeing; each package can be tailored to the individual needs of the school. Some of the ways I can support schools are listed below:
- Whole-School Mental Health Awareness Training (staff and students): usually delivered during staff Inset days, Twilight training, PHSE lessons and assemblies for the students. More in-depth mental health training can be provided to the pastoral team in school, allowing them to provide low level support to children and young people experiencing less severe mental health problems.
- Staff Well-Being Sessions: a focus on self-care and maintaining their own well-being using cognitive-behavioural techniques and compassionate-based approaches.
- Educational Advice: my extensive experience in child development, education, safeguarding and child protection means I am able to offer specialist advice to schools regarding mental health, behavioural and developmental issues.
- Specific Therapeutic Groups: these can focus on various issues, such as exam stress, loss and bereavement, confidence and self-esteem.
- Individual Assessment and Psychological Treatment of Student’s Mental Health: the psychotherapy offered includes counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) and Compassionate Based Approaches.
- Psychological Treatment of Staff’s Mental Health: individual psychotherapy is available to support staff emotional health and wellbeing.
- Mental Health Policy Development: the production of a mental health and wellbeing policy specific to your school.
- Advice for Parents and Carers: during my work in schools I have developed mental health resources for school staff, along with parents and carers. This is to help raise awareness of mental health issues and assist them in supporting children and young people’s mental health. This resource is available for free here. I have also written advice for parents and carers on how they can look after themselves: here.
Professional support is expensive and time-consuming; I therefore aim to educate and coach students, school staff, and parents or carers the skills to help themselves and others, so that professional support is no longer required at a sustained level.
Mental health and well-being is finally being given the recognition it deserves and one focus of the Green Paper is on the role of schools. There is therefore increased pressure being placed on schools to support children and young people experiencing mental distress, and I offer various ways in order for them to do this.