Purpose Supporting the mental health of children and young people is a global priority. The issue is not specific to England. However, evidence suggests that one in ten children and young people in England has a mental health need. This represents approximately three students in every classroom. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role of schools in supporting children and young people’s mental health. Whilst the paper acknowledges that teachers are not trained health professionals, it is argued that a whole-school approach to mental health can support individuals in schools to remain mentally healthy. The elements of a whole-school approach are identified and discussed and some of the challenges in relation to implementation are considered. Critical to the development of a whole-school approach is the commitment from the school leadership team to promoting student and staff wellbeing. Design/methodology/approach This is a policy paper not an empirical study. Findings This paper has outlined the policy context in the UK in relation to children and young people’s mental health. It has addressed the risk and protective factors which can cause or mitigate against mental ill health and it has outlined the elements of a whole-school approach to mental health. Originality/value This paper explores the contribution that schools can make to supporting students’ mental health. There is limited research which addresses mental health in young people from a non-therapeutic angle.
- mental health