Framework offers advice on effective mental health support

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Photo: iStock

A framework outlining effective approaches that schools can take to better support pupils with mental health issues has been published.

A framework outlining effective approaches that schools can take to better support pupils with mental health issues has been published.

Many problems, including the misuse of social media, cyber-bullying and eating disorders, can remain "undetected and untreated" if schools do not play an active role, the coalition behind the framework has warned.

Self-harm is also a key issue that the resource is looking to support schools in tackling, with as many as one in 12 children and young people thought to have self-harmed.

The resource identifies the key "triggers" that can lead to mental health issues and offers advice on engaging with pupils and their families. These "triggers" include a lack of trust, communication and relationship breakdowns, and the possible lack of extended family ties.

It has been created by the Partnership for Wellbeing and Mental Health in Schools, a network of 40 organisations hosted by the National Children's Bureau (NCB), and is based on a systematic review of best practice and research worldwide by Professor Katherine Weare.

The framework outlines effective approaches including professional learning and staff development, whole-school strategies and advises on how to develop robust school policies.

The framework also highlights the need to promote staff wellbeing and address their stress levels.

Anna Feuchtwang, NCB chief executive, said: "This framework highlights the benefit of adopting a whole-school approach to promoting social and emotional wellbeing, to help address mental health problems both in pupils and staff.

"By framing principles which are directly informed by international research our aim is to give school leaders and their staff the best support to deliver effective interventions. This will have an impact on academic learning and motivation as well as staff and pupil wellbeing. It will reduce mental health problems and improve school behaviour."

The framework – entitled What Works in Promoting Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Responding to Mental Health Problems in Schools? – is available from

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