Anna Freud: National Centre for Children and Families defines a whole-school approach as:
“A mentally healthy school is one that adopts a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing. A whole-school approach involves all parts of the school, working together and being committed. It needs partnership working between senior leaders, teachers, and all school staff, as well as parents, carers and the wider community.” 1
When we talk about the whole school approach we discuss extensively about staff and students, for example ‘Schools’ Wellbeing Partnership’ talks about “…the benefits of a whole school approach include; improved pupil wellbeing, improved staff wellbeing and retention, improved academic learning…” 2
In a publication from Public Health England ‘Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing A whole school or college approach’ they point out that “…The family plays a key role in influencing children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. There is strong evidence that well implemented universal and targeted interventions supporting parenting and family life … have the potential to yield social as well as economic benefits…” 3
Parents/Carers or indeed any adults whatever our role maybe have a vital and fundamentally influential role in shaping the happiness and smooth progress of children and young adults in navigating their lives. However, we often go back to what we know and pull out what we think are useful references from our own past experiences and perspectives.
When we apply the whole school approach and integrate the SEJ Process throughout the school we can create an educational community as a place that promotes healthy behaviours and positive mental health, enabling all students, staff, educators and parents/carers to thrive and succeed to their best potential. This simple yet powerful psychoeducational solution focussed tool gives a consistent and coherent strategy to achieve this aim that every educational setting and families are looking for. It is a universally adaptable tool that supports mentally healthy school adopting a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Dr M Howard-Kishi