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New partnership to support mental health issues in schools


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A new partnership between Leeds Beckett University and social enterprise, Stronger Minds CIC, will work with teachers and school leaders to support mental health in schools.

The Stronger Minds partnership: Nick Mitchell, Dean Johnstone, Olegs Pushkins and Alison Iredale

The Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett has signed an official memorandum of understanding with Stronger Minds Community Interest Company (CIC), an organisation whose mission is to make a step change in the emotional wellbeing of school pupils and teachers. The new partnership will transform the practice of trainee teachers at Leeds Beckett, and of the schools and teachers working with the University. 

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett, explained: “This is an exciting partnership which will address an important need in the teaching workforce.  Half of all people who suffer mental illness experience the onset of symptoms by the age of 14; and so educators need not only to know about mental health in children but to be able to respond compassionately to this growing problem. 

“Working with Stronger Minds CIC, the Carnegie School of Education will develop and deliver innovative training for beginning and experienced teachers and will host a conference for system leaders in 2017. Developing the skills and knowledge of the school workforce through this partnership, Carnegie School of Education aims to make a major contribution to improving the life chances of children and young people regionally and nationally.”   

Dean Johnstone, CEO of Stronger Minds CIC, added: “The importance of emotional wellbeing at schools, work and home can’t be underestimated as it directly impacts the welfare of our society today and the welfare of the next generation. As a social enterprise, we are thrilled to have Leeds Beckett University as a strong partner and reliable friend. We are confident that this partnership will produce many innovative approaches, tools and systems to benefit mental wellbeing in education sector across the country and abroad.” 

Recent advice from the Department for Education has identified mental health as a critical concern for schools and their teachers, showing that too many vulnerable young people are not receiving the support they need.   

More than half of head teachers consider local mental health resources to be insufficient and they have seen an increase in mental health problems amongst their pupils. Where school counsellors are available, they are most likely to be in school for only one day a week and most students leave school without receiving treatment for their mental health issues. Children with mental health problems are much more likely to be excluded from school. 

The new partnership between Leeds Beckett and Stronger Minds CIC plans to: 

  • Research and develop a new approach to mental wellbeing and health in education.
  • Integrate educational and therapeutic practice in supporting the most vulnerable students.
  • Develop a new methodology, drawing on the latest mental health and leadership knowledge so that senior leadership teams feel better prepared for the challenges they face and can confidently implement changes within their schools.
  • Bring together leaders within the education and mental health sector at a regional mental health conference in 2017 to showcase the innovative work of the partnership and present future plans.

Pictured top: Nick Mitchell, Principal Consultant in the Carnegie School of Education, Dean Johnstone, CEO Stronger Minds, Olegs Pushkins, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Stronger Minds, Alison Iredale, Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Education.

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