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Mental Health Champions

Forums for Mental Health Champions in schools.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, School Teachers

Aimed at

KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5

Why was the project needed?

We needed to strengthen the effectiveness of support for children and young people with mental health concerns and those with Special Educational Needs across Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.

What happened and what was the impact?

We offered support to schools to further develop Inclusive Practice to improve outcomes for vulnerable pupils. The aim was for all schools to becoming increasingly confident and effective in delivering inclusive practice particularly in relation to Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) for all pupils building up the knowledge and capacity to support schools across the County. We worked in partnership with the NHS Emotional Health and Wellbeing Team who delivered the Mental Health Champion Forums.

  • Set up the role of Designated Senior Lead for Mental Health in Schools.
  • Help schools support children and young people experiencing distress.
  • Share recent research, good practice, guidance and signposting.
  • Provide opportunities for networking, collaboration and joint problem solving.
  • Get exclusive access to a ‘blueprint for mental health provision in schools’.
  • Effect change in school systems.


Practical ideas can often be easily implemented in schools and help give good-quality support to children and young people in need.

What did and didn't work?

The graph above clearly shows that engagement within Fenland and East Cams OA area is better than the average for the county as a whole. Furthermore, there was an increase in school to school support and the attendees really liked the networking and place-based approach that meant they could learn more about local services and support.

In the Fenland and East Cambs areas the Mental Health Lead role was fulfilled by a high number of Teaching Assistants, Teachers, Family Workers and Pastoral Staff. This was in direct contrast to most of the other areas where this role was mainly being fulfilled by members of the Senior Leadership Team within schools. Reasons for this are not clear but it is an area that would benefit from further investigation to determine how this may affect the success of the Mental Health Lead role (in the Opportunity Area) where having the authority and ability to influence whole school approaches to mental health is key. 


How did you measure success?

The percentage of schools with a named/designated Mental Health Champion rose to 60% from just above 35% and some schools moved towards having a named Mental Wellbeing Governor too.


Ingredients For Success

A member of SLT needs to be involved in the Mental Health Forums to have influence and be able to inspire change in their setting.  

“I feel proud to be raising the profile of mental health in our community.”

“Due to the forums, we are talking more about mental health in school.”

“The best thing has been getting useful, practical ideas that can be easily put to use back in school.”

Some of the feedback we received from participants in the programme.

Next steps to do something similar yourself

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Social and Emotional Learning here

Have your say

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