The Mental Health Schools Network began life in November 2014 as a pledge by schools to solve issues surrounding emotional health and well-being. The aim was for schools to re-think how they approached mental health and give them new ways to help their pupils.
Now, we are a network aiming to bring schools together to further develop this work. When a school joins the MHSN they receive a welcome pack with different resources to help kick-start their work. But, when trying to make a change within a school, you can’t just educate the pupils. You have to educate the staff too.
When we were developing the network, we spoke to pupils, a range of mental health professionals, and also to staff. Staff said they wanted to help and support pupils, but they didn’t really know how. They didn’t understand what happened once they passed the pupil they had spoken to onto another member of staff who was able to help them better. Many members of staff felt they weren't well-educated enough about common mental health problems, nor what to say or do when issues were raised by pupils. This left members of staff feeling out of their depth and unable to help. As a result we have created resources to help staff too.
The Mental Health Schools Network takes a two-sided approach to working with schools in order to help make effective changes. A good support system is of no use if it is not well-advertised and schools are unaware when to use it. Equally important is making sure pupils aren't educated about available support that wouldn't apply to them.
We work closely with schools to tailor the resources to them and are constantly working to create new resources to share with our member schools.
We currently have 9 schools working with us but are always on the lookout for more to join us. If you are a teacher or a pupil in a school and think this is something your school could be involved with then get in touch!