The Role Of Schools

The Current State of Mental Health In UK Schools

Young people’s mental health is something we all must take seriously. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people in the UK, so promoting mental health in schools isn’t just desirable – it’s essential. Statistics reveal that:

10% of school children have a diagnosable mental illness. This means that, in a class of 30 students, three will have a mental health problem.

75% of young people with a mental health problem aren’t receiving treatment.

90% of the young people surveyed said that they would like mental health to be more important to their school or college

71% of teachers said that they would welcome a duty on schools to promote student wellbeing

75% of mental illnesses start before a child reaches their 18th birthday. 

Only 32% of Ofsted inspection reports include an explicit reference to pupils’ mental health and wellbeing Only 3

92% of parents think that schools have a duty to support the wellbeing and mental health of student

There is clear evidence that emotional wellbeing is a key indicator of academic achievement, and subsequently improved outcomes in later life

The role of schools

Emotional wellbeing is a clear indicator of academic achievement, success and satisfaction in later life. Evidence shows that mental health and wellbeing programmes in schools, can lead to significant improvements in children’s mental health, and social and emotional skills.


Wellbeing provision in schools can also lead to reductions in classroom misbehaviour and bullying. However, despite the known benefits of good wellbeing provision, at present the education system is unbalanced. There is too much emphasis on academic attainment and not enough focus on promoting the wellbeing of students.

With such a huge amount of time spent in the classroom, schools provide an ideal environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing and identifying early behaviour changes and signs of mental distress. The social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviours that pupils learn in the classroom can help them to build resilience and set the pattern for how they will manage their mental health throughout their lives.


The prominence given to exams and academic attainment within the education system is having a negative impact, with 80% of young people saying that exam pressure has significantly impacted on their mental health. In terms of causing disability, mental health is a bigger problem than both cancer and cardiovascular disease. Yet treatment for mental health problems is still woefully inadequate.

How can we promote positive mental health in your school.

Teachers and school staff have a responsibility to promote mental health in schools. Often, even small changes can go a long way in helping somebody feel better.

Encourage Social Time

Schedule in 30 minutes or an hour every week where students can be social and focus on something other than the curriculum. Encourage them to chat with their peers and complete a task together, like a difficult problem or a challenge.

Run Lunchtime Clubs 

Give students the opportunity to take their mind off things at lunch by running lunchtime clubs. These clubs could be for any activity – arts and crafts, sports, baking, drama clubs, book clubs, film clubs, etc. The sense of community will help students feel included and will relieve the pressure of work for a while. we provide a wide variety of effective lunch time clubs which will beneficial. 

Have An Open Door Policy

It’s essential that pupils know they can come and talk about any issues or concerns they have. Communicate this to your students so they know you’re always there to listen. Active Learners have a designated mentor who can always support any students struggling.

Have A Wellness Weeks

To really put wellbeing at the heart of your school, arrange a wellness week in your school. This will benefit both staff and students alike. For your wellness week, you could:

  • Encourage connections – get students to talk to each other and interact with people they wouldn’t usually talk to.

  • Host a sports/activities day – exercise is known to boost endorphins, so make use of this and get students and staff involved in a range of activities. Encourage students to set themselves goals (nothing too major) so they get a great self-esteem boost when they achieve it.

  • Be mindful – host mindfulness sessions and create a calming environment.

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