The importance of children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is well recognised today and is clearly of enormous concern to educationalists. A body of evidence supports the negative impact of poor mental health on multiple pupil outcomes. Adverse effects include low school attendance, lack of motivation, poor concentration and attention, as well as higher likelihood of health risk behaviours, selfharm and suicide (Patel, Filsher, & Hendrick, 2007). Recent efforts by the UK government to tackle growing
rates of psychological distress among children have included designating schools with increased responsibility for early detection, intervention and crisis management in respect of pupils with mental health difficulties. While it is acknowledged that mental health and wellbeing should be at the heart of children’s school experience, it is increasingly apparent that many education staff feel ill-equipped to manage escalating demands and competing priorities. Research suggests that these additional pressures are becoming deleterious to staff’s own wellbeing (Education Support Partnership, 2018). This session explores the premise that children’s mental health really is ‘everyone’s business and therefore requires a holistic approach. For schools, this means making sense of roles and responsibilities, and includes setting boundaries in order to create mentally healthy, whole school communities.