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Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing in Education

Posted on 24 July 2023

The University of York hosted Mental Health and Education on 27 June 2023, which brought together professionals – including researchers, educators, and healthcare providers – united in their mission of improving mental health and wellbeing in schools.

Copyright Paul Shields, University of York

Funded by the Nurture Network (Research Council Grant Ref: ES/S004467/1) and the Institute of Mental Health Research at York (IMRY), the event commenced with a presentation on “Youth Mental Health in the Digital Age” by Dr. Louisa Salhi from Kooth Digital Health. Louisa described the current scale and nature of mental health challenges faced by young people, and the crucial role that digital mental health
service providers like Kooth play in supporting young people.

This was followed by a presentation by event organisers Dr. Beth T. Bell and Laura Fox (University of York), who shared insights from the “Connecting Online Mental Services to Schools (COMS)” project which aims to understand how and why adolescents seek information and support for their mental health, as well as the risks and opportunities associated with help-seeking in school and online. Their presentation ended with recommendations for school staff on how to improve support for pupils with mental health difficulties, in the digital age.

Copyright Paul Shields, University of York

Next, Dr. Lisa E. Kim, Dr. Sarah Crellin, and Charly Ding (University of York) presented findings from their research examining the occupational wellbeing and professional development needs of school staff. The key message was that protecting school staff wellbeing is crucial and has benefits not just for staff members, but for the school community more broadly. This was followed by Dr. Joshua Stubbs (PSHE Association; University of York) who conveyed early insights from his work that aims to co-develop an evidence-based mental wellbeing curriculum for primary school children. In particular, he focused on the importance of self-regulation, which confers many advantageous developmental outcomes and can be effectively taught within primary school classrooms.

Throughout the event, there were opportunities to network and discuss ideas for future collaboration. The event ended with a discussion on the future of mental health, chaired by Professor Lina Gega (IMRY).