Yorkshire takes action on mental health in schools

A new event which will help to shape the agenda on the way mental health is tackled in the region's schools is being launched in Leeds this summer.

Professor Damien Page
Professor Damien Page

The first annual Yorkshire Schools’ Mental Health Conference has been organised by Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education in partnership with social enterprise, Stronger Minds.

The conference on June 26 will bring together leaders in education and mental health from across the region, linking government policy with examples of innovative provision within Yorkshire’s schools and the latest thinking from national organisations.

It comes after the Prime Minister dubbed the lack of mental health support in the UK a “social injustice”.

Dean Johnstone

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education, said: “Mental health within schools is not just the concern of specialists: it’s the concern of everyone committed to improving the life chances of children.

“This conference aims to attract participants from all sections of the education community, from governors to clinical commissioning groups, all working to address the lack of mental health support in schools.”

The Department for Education has identified mental health as a critical concern for schools, showing that too many vulnerable young people are not receiving the support they need.

Dean Johnstone, co-founder and CEO of Stronger Minds, said: "As a Yorkshire man, it makes me proud to be working withLeeds Beckett to create the Yorkshire Schools' Mental Health Conference 2017. Mental health problems affect every classroom and limit the potential of too many children. Yet within Yorkshire there is innovative practice and inspirational leadership around this area. This conference will showcase some of this impressive work whilst also ensuring the national discussion on mental health is made relevant for our schools. It is a chance for the region to help shape the agenda on mental health in schools and to learn from, and share with, each other."The conference will be chaired by John Tomsett, head teacher of Huntington School in York and author of Mind Over Matter: This much I know about improving mental health in our schools.

Dean Johnstone

As well as finding out about the latest research into the links between physical and mental health in children and learning how implement new approaches to mental health that lead to improved attendance, behaviour and attainment, there will be the opportunity for one-to-one sessions with a mental health expert to discuss specific issues.

The innovative projects that Stronger Minds has developed in partnership with Leeds Beckett will also be highlighted.The partnership between the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett and Stronger Minds was launched in January 2017 with the aim of transforming the practice of trainee teachers at Leeds Beckett and of the schools and teachers working with the university.Professor Page added: “This is an exciting partnership which is addressing an important need in the teaching workforce. Half of all people who suffer mental illness experience the onset of symptoms by the age of 14; and so educators need not only to know about mental health in children but to be able to respond compassionately to this growing problem.”

For more information and to book a place at the conference, visit http://bit.ly/StrongerMindsConference.