Mental Health in Schools: A Guide to Pastoral and Curriculum Provision


Mark Prever

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    View Copyright Page


    This book is dedicated to my daughter Miriam and all young people


    I would like to recognise the importance of all the people I have worked with in numerous settings over the last 30 years or so and whose influence has been real and lasting. In particular, I wish to acknowledge all the children and young people who have worked with me and who have shared many of their hopes, fears, sadness, loss and distress. It really is quite special when young people let you into their life, trusting you with their thoughts and deepest feelings – things that are potentially so hidden and private.

    Many thanks to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for commissioning me to write this book and, in particular, to Lewis Edwards, Marketing and Communications Manager, for keeping me on task and strictly to deadlines.

    I also wish to thank all those professionals who have influenced me throughout my career; in particular, Carmel Mullen-Hartley at the Open Door Youth Counselling Service in Birmingham.

    I am grateful to my family for their support through difficult times and particularly to my partner Ruth.

    Finally, and certainly not least, is my daughter Miriam, who remains special to me in so many ways. Miriam has highlighted the importance of good parenting, security and love in young people's development and in their emotional health and well-being.

    About the Author

    Mark Prever was born in Hackney, East London, in 1953 and has been involved in education for over 30 years. He is an experienced teacher but has substantial experience also of youth and community work and social work with young people at risk. For many years he has held formal pastoral roles, including Head of Year and Personal Social and Health Education Co-ordinator in a range of secondary schools across Birmingham.

    Over the last 16 years, Mark has developed a substantial interest in counselling and is currently Counselling Development Officer at the Open Door Youth Counselling Service in Birmingham where he has previously held the roles of clinical supervisor and Chair of the Agency.

    Up until recently, Mark was the manager of a school-based Student Support Centre for young people with social, emotional and behavioural problems as well as holding responsibility for child protection at the school. His current role at the school is Student Development Leader.

    Mark has also held the role of Chair of Counselling Children and Young People (CCYP), a division of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He maintains a particular interest in counselling and therapeutic work with young people, mental health and emotional literacy in educational settings, and is a trainer and writer in these fields. He has written for a range of journals on related matters and has contributed to radio and the production of TV programmes.

    Mark lives in Worcestershire and has a daughter aged 11.


    Why Write this Book?

    In writing this book, I have more than a desire to disseminate information about mental health in the context of schooling. I want it to be a useful resource, but I am aware also of a campaigning edge. The book is designed to raise the issues and possibilities of a comprehensive approach to mental health in schools. A concern for the mental health needs of young people, and the school's awareness of these, remains largely hidden. Schools are trying their hardest, often with success, to support young people in difficulty, and many hours are spent with parents and pupils trying to address problems. However, many professionals working in schools will recognise that they feel helpless and deskilled when confronted with young people who are self-harming, socially isolated and withdrawn, or behaving in a way that causes distress at home and school. These outward expressions of sadness, unhappiness or difficulty ultimately affect the learning and well-being of other pupils with whom they come into contact.

    I believe that unless education places mental health and well-being at the forefront of planning, schools will remain purely reactive institutions with a ‘fire-fighting’ model of pastoral care. What is advocated here is a more proactive approach, where problems are anticipated and preempted, and where prevention and early intervention are keenly held concepts that influence policy and planning. This book seeks to raise awareness of mental health in schools and challenge schools with a new way of thinking.

    Who is it for?

    This book is for all adults who work in schools and who come into contact with young people in distress or difficulty. This includes teachers with a pastoral role, whether as form tutor or at the level of middle management. However, I would be pleased if it also appealed to all classroom teachers and assistants and those with newly created pastoral roles as a result of workforce reform. Clearly, these pages will be of use to other staff working in schools, such as learning mentors, special needs teachers and the school special educational needs coordinator. In addition, I hope that the book is read and discussed by school head teachers, other members of the senior leadership team and governors, in particular those with the influence to effect change.

    The book is also relevant to the many other professionals working in schools, such as behaviour support, education social workers, educational psychologists and Connexions workers.

    In fact, I hope this book will be of interest to anyone who sees schooling as more than an opportunity to pass on knowledge and help pupils achieve in the formal sense, important as these goals may be. It is for all professionals who wish to highlight the importance of promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people in our schools.

    Importantly, this book is also about working with parents, family and friends whose lives are entwined with the child in distress – or become so. My aim is that the content and ideas explored in the book will open up purposeful and sensitive communication with families, and facilitate the kind of dialogue and sense of working together in partnership that is so necessary for quality support, intelligent home-school contracts and – hopefully – successful outcomes.

    How should the Book be used?

    I want this to be an intensely practical book, written with a passion born out of many years of experience. As indicated above, I also hope that the book will challenge and offer new perspectives on the practice of pastoral care.

    The book should be read in full because it is important that the arguments presented are understood. The book can later be returned to for reference and discussion. I would be delighted if the book were used for training and professional development. For this reason, I have included a number of ‘reflection boxes’ throughout the text at appropriate points. These can be used for self-reflection or in discussion with others. Where a page is headed ‘photocopiable’, please feel free to reproduce it for work with colleagues. Where material has been designed for pupils to work with, you may make multiple copies for classroom use. In addition, the text is interspersed with a number of ‘key points’ that attempt to capture the essence of the following pages.

  • References

    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2003) Children of parents with mental illness, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39.
    Antidote (2003) The emotional literacy handbook. London: David Fulton.
    AntonovskyA (1987) Unravelling the mysteries of health: how people manage stress and stay well. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    Atkinson, M and Hornby, G (2002) Mental health handbook for schools. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
    Audit Commission (1999) Children in mind: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Briefing, September 1999.
    Ayalon, O and Flasher, A (1993) Chain reaction: children and divorce. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    BACP (2001) Good practice guidance for counselling in schools. Rugby: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
    BACP (2002) Ethical framework for good practice in counselling and psychotherapy. Rugby: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
    BACP (2005) Counselling and psychotherapy resources directory. Rugby: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
    BBC News (2001) Too stressed to go to school. 19 June 2001.
    Bunting, M (2004) Today's youth: anxious, depressed, anti-social, Guardian, 13 September 2004.
    Carey, B (2005) Separating troubles from illness. New York Times, Thursday 16 June 2005.
    ChildLine (2002) Setting up a peer support scheme. London: ChildLine.
    ChildLine. (2004) Can I talk to you again? Restoring the emotional and mental well-being of children and young people. London: ChildLine.
    Comer, R (2001) Abnormal psychology. New York: Worth.
    Cooper, P and Bilton, K (2002) Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a practical guide for teachers. London: David Fulton.
    Cowie, H and Wallace, P (2000) Peer Support in Action. London: Sage.
    Cowie, H, Boardman, C, Dawkins, J and Jennifer, D (2004) Emotional health and well-being. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Csóti, M (2003) School phobia, panic attacks and anxiety in children. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Cumine, V, Leach, J and Stevenson, G (2000) Asperger syndrome: a practical guide for teachers. London: David Fulton.
    Department for Education and Skills (2001) Promoting children's mental health within early years and school settings. London: DfES.
    Department for Education and Skills (2004) Every child matters. London: DfES.
    Dogra, N, Parkin, A, Gale, F and Frake, C (2002) A multidisciplinary handbook of child and adolescent mental health for front-line professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Donnellan, C (ed.) (2000) Issues 51: self-harm and suicide. Cambridge: Independence.
    Dowling, M (2000) Young children's personal, social and emotional development. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Draucker, C B (1992) Counselling survivors of childhood sexual abuse. London: Sage.
    Dwivedi, K N and Harper, P B (2004) Promoting the emotional well-being of children and adolescents and preventing their emotional ill health: a handbook. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Educational Resources Information Centre (1995) Fostering resilience in children. ERIC/EECE Publications.
    Faber, A and Mazlish, E (1980) How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. New York: Avon.
    Fogell, J and Long, R (1999) Supporting pupils with emotional difficulties. London: David Fulton.
    Gilbert, S (2000) Counselling for eating disorders. London: Sage.
    Gottman, J (1997) The heart of parenting: how to raise an emotionally intelligent child. London: Bloomsbury.
    Gray, G (1997) Talking about it: promoting mental health in schools. An educational resource. Meridian Broadcasting Charitable Trust.
    Gross, R and McIlveen, R (1996) Abnormal psychology. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
    Hallam, R (1992) Counselling for anxiety problems. London: Sage.
    Harley-Brewer, E (2001) Learning to trust and trusting to learn: how schools can affect children's mental health. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.
    Harris, P (1989) Children and emotion. London: Blackwell.
    Health Development Agency (2004) Promoting emotional health and well-being through the national healthy school standard. London: Department of Health/Department for Education and Skills.
    Hill, K (1995) The long sleep: young people and suicide. London: Virago.
    Hipp, E (1995) Help for the hard times: getting through loss. New York: Hazelden.
    Indiana University Center for Adolescent Studies (1996) Holly: a student's story of hope. Teacher Talk, 3 (2).
    Klein, R (2000) Defying disaffection: how schools are winning the hearts and minds of reluctant students. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
    Lewis, C, Johnson, A and Lewis, N (1994) Eating disorders: guidance for teachers. Biggin Hill Family Reading Centre.
    Lindsay, B and Elsegood, J (eds) (1996) Working with children in grief and loss. London: Baillière Tindall.
    McNamara, S (2000) Stress in young people: what's new and what can we do?London: Continuum.
    McNamara, S (2001) Stress management programme for secondary school students. New York: Routledge Falmer.
    Mental Health Foundation (1999) Bright futures: promoting children and young people's mental health. London: Mental Health Foundation.
    Mental Health Foundation (2002a) The mental health of looked-after children. Bright futures: working with vulnerable young people. London: Mental Health Foundation.
    Mental Health Foundation (2002b) The mental health needs of young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Bright futures: working with vulnerable young people. London: Mental Health Foundation.
    Mental Health Foundation (2002c) The mental health of young offenders. Bright futures: working with vulnerable young people. London: Mental Health Foundation.
    Mental Health Foundation (2002d) Peer support report: executive summary. London: Mental Health Foundation.
    Mental Health Foundation (2002e) The promoting engagement project. Updates Vol. 3, Issue 16. Mental Health Foundation. Available free online at
    Mind (2001) Children, young people and mental health. Fact sheet. London: Mind.
    National Children's Bureau. Peer Support Forum Briefing Papers. Available online at
    NHS National Health Advisory Service (1995) Together we stand. The commissioning role and management of child and adolescent mental health services. London: HMSO.
    NSPCC (2002) Mentally ill parents and children's welfare. Information Briefing. London: NSPCC.
    Office for National Statistics (2000) Mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain. London: Stationery Office.
    Office for National Statistics (2003) The mental health of young people looked after by local authorities. London: Stationery Office.
    Ofsted (2005) Healthy minds: promoting emotional health and well-being in schools. Available free online at
    Persaud, R (2001) Staying sane: how to make your mind work for you. New York: Bantam.
    Pilgrim, D (2005) Key concepts in mental health. London: Sage.
    Pinfold, V (2003) Awareness in action: changing discriminatory and negative attitudes to mental health should start at school. Mental Health Today, July/August.
    Prever, M (2004) Exploring mental health: a teaching resource for schools – for work with students aged 14 to 16. Rugby: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
    Rogers, C R (1951) On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    Rosenhan, D and Seligman, M (1989) Abnormal psychology. New York: Norton.
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (1999a) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    Divorce or separation of parents – the impact on children and adolescents. Fact sheet 15 for parents and teachers. Available free online at
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (1999b) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    Domestic violence – its effects on children. Factsheet 18 for parents and teachers. Available free online at
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (1999c) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    The emotional cost of bullying. Fact sheet 19 for parents and teachers. Available free online at
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (2002a) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    Behaviour problems and conduct disorder. Factsheet 4 for parents and teachers. Available free online at
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (2002b) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    Death in the family – helping children to cope. Factsheet 16 for parents and teachers. Available free online at
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (2002c) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    Deliberate self-harm in young people. Factsheet 30 for teachers and parents. Available free online at
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (2002d) Mental health and growing up.
    2nd edn.
    Depression in children and young people. Fact sheet 25 for parents and teachers.
    Royal College of Psychiatrists (2003) Workshops help young people challenge the stigma of mental illness. Press Release, 1 April 2003.
    Salzberger-Wittenberg, I, Williams, G and Osborne, E (1983) The emotional experience of learning and teaching. London: Karnac.
    The Samaritans (1997) Youth pack. Helping you help young people. London: The Samaritans.
    Sanderson, C (1995) Counselling adult survivors of child sexual abuse. 2nd edn. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Smith, C and McKee, S (2005) Becoming an emotionally healthy school. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Smith, E (2004) Britain: teenagers driven to depression and suicide by exam pressures. Published online by the International Committee of the Fourth International at
    Social Exclusion Unit (2003) Mental health and social exclusion. London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
    Strong, M (2000) A bright red scream. Self-mutilation and the language of pain. London: Virago.
    Surgeon General (2000) Report on the Surgeon General's conference on children's mental health: a national action agenda. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.
    Swan-Jackson, A (1997) Caught in the middle: teenagers talk about their parents’ divorce. London: Piccadilly.
    Times Educational Supplement (2003) The issue: parents at war. 24 October 2003;
    Times Educational Supplement (2004a) The issue: children in care. 18 June 2004;
    Times Educational Supplement (2004b) The issue: children's mental health, 10 September 2004
    Times Educational Supplement (2005) The issue: self-harm. 18 March.
    Titterton, M, Hill, M and Smart, H (2002) Mental health promotion and the early years: the evidence base: risk, protection and resilience. Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 1(1).
    Tones, K (1981) Health education: prevention or subversion?Royal Society of Health Journal, 101: 114-17.
    TormeyN (2005) Every school should have one: how peer support schemes make schools better. London: ChildLine.
    UCLA (1996) Addressing barriers to learning. Mental health in schools: emerging trends. Newsletter, University of California, Los Angeles School Mental Health Project. 1(1), Winter.
    Vellacott, J (2005) Something inside us, YoungMinds Magazine, 77: 18.
    Weare, K (1999) Promoting mental, emotional and social health: a whole school approach. London: Routledge.
    Weare, K (2003) Developing the emotionally literate school. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Williams, M (1997) Cry of Pain. Understanding suicide and self-harm. London: Penguin.
    Wilson, P (2003) Young minds in our schools: a guide for teachers and others working in schools. London: YoungMinds.
    Winfield, L (1994) Developing resilience in urban youth. University of Southern California Graduate School of Education, NCREL Monograph.
    World Federation for Mental Health (2003) World mental health day: emotional and behavioural disorders of children and adolescents. Baltimore, MD: WFMH.
    World Health Organisation (2001) Strengthening mental health promotion. Fact sheet no. 220. Geneva: WHO.
    YoungMinds (1996) Mental health in your school: a guide for teachers and others working in schools. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    YoungMinds Policy for mental health services for adolescents and young adults. Available online at

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website