A mentally healthy school is one that adopts a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing. It is a school that helps children flourish, learn and succeed by providing opportunities for them, and the adults around them, to develop the strengths and coping skills that underpin resilience. A mentally healthy school sees positive mental health and wellbeing as fundamental to its values, mission and culture. It is a school where child, staff and parent/carer mental health and wellbeing is seen as ‘everybody’s business’.

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

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Whole-school programmes

This section provides links to whole-school approaches which either have good quality or promising records in achieving positive changes in social and emotional skills and/or reductions in risks affecting children’s mental health.

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Small group work

This section provides links to small group programmes proven to result in positive changes in social and emotional skills for children.

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Parent/carer engagement

If schools want to develop a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing, engaging widely with all members of the school community is essential and should be a key part of a school’s mission and values.

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Children's voice

A whole-school approach means listening to the voices of everyone in the school community and this includes children and parents/carers as well as school staff.

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Guidance, frameworks and key websites

Below is a list of documents and websites you may find useful to refer to when developing a whole-school approach to mental health.

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Showcasing activity for Ofsted

Ofsted is responsible for the inspection of maintained and academy schools in England, and around half of independent schools. It also inspects other services against relevant inspection frameworks, including childcare, social care and further education.

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Supporting staff wellbeing

Wellbeing is all about our holistic health, including the physical and emotional. When we have good levels of wellbeing we feel that life is in balance and that we can generally cope well. We feel motivated and engaged, we’re resilient and able to deal effectively with daily troubles, as well as ’bounce back’ from life’s challenges.

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Supporting a member of staff with mental health difficulties

With one in four adults experiencing mental ill-health in any given year, it is very likely that you, as a school leader or senior member of staff, will come across a colleague with a mental health difficulty.

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