Best Practice

Effective whole-school mental health interventions

The unprecedented challenges for young people’s mental health constitute a public health crisis and schools find themselves on the front-line. Dr Michelle Jayman considers the barriers and facilitators to effective whole-school mental health interventions

From the onset of the pandemic and its associated restrictions, educators and others were quick to voice their concerns about the detrimental impact on the mental wellbeing of children and young people.

Unsurprisingly, a “substantial” increase in demand for pastoral and mental wellbeing support has been reported (EBPU, 2022). According to school leaders, already-vulnerable pupils, such as those with SEND, were most affected, while other pupils have experienced low wellbeing and mental distress for the first time.

We must remember that children and young people’s mental wellbeing was a major public health concern before Covid-19 struck, with the prevalence of emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression having been on the rise for some time (Sadler et al, 2018).

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