Standard Content

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Teacher Education

This section of the Storehouse is dedicated to all issues concerned with the Mental Health and Wellbeing of teacher educators, student teachers, teachers, children and young people. Click on the links to access the information and send any further possibilities for this folder to TEAN

Mental Health and the curriculum; making the connections in Teacher Education

In our role as teacher educators, how aware are we of the need to support the mental wellbeing of our students? How well are we equipping our students to support the mental wellbeing of others? These questions were addressed by delegates at a joint TEAN/mhhe event held at the University of Cumbria, Lancaster campus on March 30th 2011. The report below outlines the presentations and discussions of the day and gives access to the PowerPoints and other information shared on the day. Many thanks to all participants – presenters and delegates – for helping to create such an energising and inspirational day.

Mental Health in Higher Education (mmhe) aims to enhance networking and the sharing of approaches to learning and teaching about mental health across the disciplines in UK higher education. It was set up in 2003 and has run over 50 events since then. Although primarily about mental health as a content area for teaching, issues of student mental health have continually arisen in our work. mhhe has run workshops at the last two TEAN conferences which aimed to provide teacher educators with an opportunity to think about wellbeing and introduce them to some work that is going on elsewhere. The joint event with TEAN on March 30th 2011 was devised to allow more time to explore the issues or resources in more depth.


Jill Anderson

Jill Anderson, Senior Project Development Officer for the Mental Health in Higher Education project (mhhe) from Lancaster University led colleagues through a full and rich programme.

Jill recommended Troubled Minds, a series of short BAFTA award – winning animations narrated by young people who have experienced different forms of mental distress.

Troubled Minds information

A range of other recommended resources are on her resource sheet.

Peter Downes

Peter Downes, a mental health service user and educator, started the day by taking us on a personal journey, suggesting three basic factors which we all possess: curiosity; a need to establish our own identity; feelings of vulnerability. He suggested that reflective practice for teachers is most important as it involves curiosity, however this very curiosity can leave you vulnerable. Student teachers may feel this way and need to realise that is all right to feel vulnerable and fallible. Students need to balance their emotions and feel that emotion is of prime importance in the workplace. Regard for mental wellbeing is essential for healthy practice and needs to be integral to a teaching programme, not just for the good of the future teachers, but also, by extension, for the good of the children and young people in their care.

Summary of Peter's Presentation

Sally Gomme

Sally Gomme from Education Not Discrimination (END) (a time to change project located in Rethink) was accompanied by two END involvement workers, Susan Kennedy and Adam Sayers. Sally presented their work with student teachers and staff in schools which aims to build confidence when supporting young people with, or at risk of, mental health problems. This initiative is about building confidence in teachers to deal with mental health issues. It aims to destigmatise mental illness and help people to build a toolkit of strategies. Susan and Adam both shared experiences of their own lives with us. Susan explained how she was bullied at school and hopes now to help future generations of schoolchildren by raising awareness. Timely intervention with children, she suggested, can help minimise the potentially devastating consequences of bullying. Adam hopes that by telling his story of bullying he might change things for some child, as he reminded us that every child really does matter.

The END project

Ann Creed

Ann Creed, an Associate of NIACE (The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) presented the Mental Health Matters resource, developed to support the incorporation of wellbeing issues within curriculum planning and delivery. This is a mental health strategy for FE which has resonance for the school sector. Both learners and teachers have fluctuating wellbeing she suggested and queried whether we work in mentally healthy environments. Three things which help a learner are:

Ann gave us an interesting exercise to try. Complete the two following sentences for yourself – you will find it quite revealing:

Jane Sedgewick

Jane Sedgewick from the national CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) support service introduced us to some online learning materials on mental health: Everybody’s Business Trainers’ Package. This is an online mental health training resource, developed by the National CAMHS Support Service. Everybody's Business is a set of free e-learning materials about the mental health of children and young people. It is aimed at people who work with children, young people and their families who are not mental health professionals. Jane told us that most money goes to adult mental care although most problems start in school. Teachers need to ask the question ‘What can I do to improve the mental health and wellbeing of this child?

Jan Huyton and Emily Hillier

Jan Huyton and Emily Hillier from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, presented initial findings from their project on supporting the wellbeing of PGCE/PGDE students and the impact of Fitness to Teach guidelines. This ESCalate funded project involves three cases studies, exploring institutional policy and the perceptions of staff and students to elicit key issues, and exploits Web 2.0 technologies to stimulate debate across the sector. 

Perceptions of Fitness to Teach

Group Sessions

Also during the day there was time given to delegate groups to reflect on what we are already doing within teacher education to address issues of wellbeing. The points raised are many and it is recommended that you use these to engage in the debate and to trigger ideas for embracing the importance of mental health and wellbeing with your students. 

Download the document

Action Cards

At the end of the day delegates filled in cards with actions they intended to complete on return to their workplaces. 

Download the cards

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Teacher Education Further resources

Themed issue on Health Consequences of School Bullying
Guest-edited by Maria M Ttofi, David P Farrington and Friedrich Lösel

The wide range of articles publishing in this themed issue include:

Please contact Pier Professional on +44 (0)1273 783720 or email for details.

Edit Page