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The whole school approach to mental health was developed following RSA research into the impact of mental health awareness training for school staff. We provided training in seven schools, six of them RSA Academies, in 2017-18.

These schools reflected the national trend, with increases in the amount and severity of mental health problems faced by students. They told us this was caused by the impact of social media, as well as economic deprivation, more pressure at school on exams and results, and the lack of specialised support services.

The training was designed to empower staff to support students suffering from low and moderate mental health problems before those problems escalate. We found the training had significant positive effects on staff’s: confidence, mental health literacy, perception of the school as a supportive environment, and behaviour in supporting pupils.

We hope that these positive results will build the evidence base for a whole school approach, in favour of those based on a lead practitioner for mental health in schools.

Participating Schools

Ipsley CE RSA Academy
A Church of England middle school in Redditch, Worcestershire, with 608 pupils aged 9 to 13.

Abbeywood First School
A first school in Redditch, Worcestershire, with 249 pupils aged 3 to 9.

Church Hill Middle School
middle school located on the same site as Abbeywood, with 306 pupils aged 9 to 13.

Arrow Vale RSA Academy
A high school in Redditch, Worcestershire, with 741 pupils aged 13 to 18.

Holyhead School
A secondary school in Birmingham, with 1,315 pupils aged 11 to 18.

Whitley Academy
A secondary school in Coventry, with 895 pupils aged 11 to 20.

Wilkes Green Junior School
Junior school in Birmingham, with 359 pupils aged 7 to 11.

Advisory Board

Dr Polly Casey

Dr Polly Casey

Research Fellow, UCL


Dr Jessica Deighton

Dr Jessica Deighton

Associate Professor in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing at UCL Head of Resilience Research and Evaluation


Dr Aaron Balick

Dr Aaron Balick

Psychotherapist and Founder, Stillpoint London


Matthew Audely

Matthew Audely

Senior Clinical Trainer, Place2Be