Each year, the Schools for Health in Europe network foundation (SHE) publishes a new factsheet on topics related to the health-promoting school. The 2021 factsheet is recently published, with a theme about mental health promotion in schools. It provides a narrative synthesis of state of the art school-based mental health promotion, highlighting the types and characteristics of successful initiatives based on a whole-school approach.
Guided by the pillars underpinning the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) approach, this Factsheet provides a narrative synthesis of the state of the art in school-based mental health promotion, highlighting the types of initiatives currently offered, and the characteristics of successful initiatives based on a whole-school approach. Whilst mental health promotion may compete with other demands on schools, it has become crucial to invest further in research which can support holistic, inclusive and participatory practices in the field of school mental health promotion. The focus on the contextual determinants of children’s mental health and wellbeing, the shift to trauma-informed practices in education, as well as the co-creation of mental health promotion projects are among the future directions, which are hoped to improve children’s’ mental health and wellbeing as well as their academic outcomes.
Children and young people spend almost half their waking lives at school and the experiences and relationships they have at school can have a substantial impact on their wellbeing, influencing both behaviour and academic performance. Therefore, schools are an ideal setting for promoting children’s emotional and social competencies and fostering an overall sense of psychological wellbeing.
The factsheet is written by Catriona O’Toole & Emily Darlington (both members of SHE’s research group). L. Søvold and Peter Paulus has contributed to the factsheet.