The emerging role of designated or senior mental health lead in schools has become even more vital in light of the impact of the pandemic. Wellbeing expert Kelly Hannaghan discusses effective practice for those taking on this new position and six steps for success

The government wants every school to have a designated or senior mental health lead (SMHL) by 2025 (Headteacher Update, 2021). Many schools, some spurred on by the impact of the pandemic, already have such a role in place. But what does best practice look like? In this article, I consider the elements and strategies of good practice to help develop professionals taking on the emerging role of SMHL.

Why wellbeing matters

Happy pupils learn well. The same can be said for teachers – teachers who live well, teach well. This is why wellbeing matters, it determines life and learning outcomes. When I visit schools, I can ascertain a lot about the culture of wellbeing by the feeling I get when I walk through the gates:

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