Teacher mental health training goes national

More than 1,800 secondary schools and colleges will get training, in the latest phase of mental health awareness scheme

Adi Bloom

More than 1,800 secondary schools and colleges will receive training to support pupils with mental health difficulties

Teachers will be taught how to recognise the warning signs for anxiety, depression and low mood, as part of a government-funded mental health drive.

More than 1,800 secondary schools and colleges will receive the training, as part of the latest phase of the mental health awareness training. 

Quick read: Three-quarters of primary teachers say pupils anxious about school

Insight: One mental health first-aider a school not enough, warn experts

Background: Teachers to be trained as 'mental health first-aiders'

The new phase of training will take place in 130 locations across England, between September 2019 and February 2020. It will be delivered by mental health charity the Anna Freud Centre, and is open to all schools and colleges that have not already received the training for their staff. Two staff members from every school will be eligible to receive the training.

Protecting pupils' mental health

As well as setting the scene for the role of schools in supporting mental health, the Anna Freud programme will provide teachers with a framework for building a mentally healthy school community. 

Davina Metters, head of programming in mental health in the schools team at the Anna Freud Centre, said: “It’s about ensuring that you have a robust mental health and wellbeing policy in place, and giving teachers skills to go back to their settings and set that up.”

The sessions will also address common mental health problems that teachers are likely to confront in schools. These include anxiety, low mood and depression.

“We’re looking at how best to manage that in a school environment,” Ms Metters said. “What to look for, that would be early warning signs of those [conditions]. What’s normal development, and what might be more serious, and would then require specialist services.”

One in eight children between the ages of 5 and 19 has at least one mental health disorder. 

Nick Gibb, minister for school standards, said: “This adds to a range of important work already taking place in schools to support pupils’ mental health, including connecting schools with NHS specialists in 25 trailblazer areas across the country, and the introduction of health education on the curriculum, from September 2020.” 

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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