Support from the senior leadership team is essential to ensure that efforts to promote emotional health and wellbeing are accepted and embedded. Having a governor with knowledge and understanding of emotional health and wellbeing issues is highly desirable in championing organisation-wide practices.
Involving students in decisions that impact on them can benefit their emotional health and wellbeing by helping them to feel part of the school and wider community and to have some control over their lives.
At an individual level, benefits include helping students to gain belief in their own capabilities, including building their knowledge and skills to make healthy choices and developing their independence. Collectively, students benefit through having opportunities to influence decisions, to express their views and to develop strong social networks.
It is important for staff to access training to increase their knowledge of emotional wellbeing and to equip them to be able to identify mental health difficulties in their students. This includes being able to refer them to relevant support either within the school or from external services.
The report of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Task force recommends that staff working with children and young people in universal settings, including schools, should receive training in children and young people’s development and behaviours but should not be expected to replace specialist services.
There are a variety of tools that education settings can use as the basis for understanding and planning a response to pupils’ emotional health and wellbeing needs.
Defining pupil need on a more formal basis can help to inform commissioning decisions at school level, across clusters of schools or at a local authority level. It is equally important to be able to record and monitor the impact of any support that is put in place
The family plays a key role in influencing children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing.
There is strong evidence that well implemented universal and targeted interventions supporting parenting and family life that offer a combination of emotional, parenting and practical life circumstances (combining drug, alcohol and sex education, for example) have the potential to yield social as well as economic benefits.
Some children and young people are at greater risk of experiencing poorer mental health. For example those who are in care, young carers, those who have had previous access to CAMHS, those living with parents/carers with a mental illness and those living in households experiencing domestic violence.
Delays in identifying and meeting emotional wellbeing and mental health needs can have far reaching effects on all aspects of children and young people’s lives, including their chances of reaching their potential and leading happy and healthy lives as adults
The physical, social and emotional environment in which staff and students spend ahigh proportion of every week day has been shown to affect their physical, emotionaland mental health and wellbeing as well as impacting on attainment.
Relationships between staff and students, and between students, are critical inpromoting student wellbeing and in helping to engender a sense of belonging to and liking of school or college.
Pupils and students are more likely to engage in lessons that focus on emotional wellbeing if they are of practical application and relevant to them. There are a range of ways of getting insights into pupil need ranging from validated assessment tools to feedback from existing fora such as school councils or local area youth councils. Assessment of learning is important and both teachers and pupils will want to know that what has been taught has been learnt, and that learning is progressing.
Department for Education
"Schools should collect routine outcome data to assess the impact of counselling on the child or young person and the effectiveness of the service as a whole"
"Assessing and responding to learners' emotional health and wellbeing needs, and their impact on the capacity to learn, relates to all key judgement areas"
"Mental health needs can change over time, so taking a regular ‘temperature check’ or snapshot of everyone in school is crucial"
Public Health England
"In order to quantify, compare and map any change within a population’s mental wellbeing we must first be able to measure it. An individual’s own perspective of their mental wellbeing is crucial. This raises particular issues when looking at the mental wellbeing of children and young people"