Did you know that today is World Mental Health DAY (WMHD)?

 1This provides a really good opportunity to get more people talking about mental health and wellbeing in young people and adults.

Why? Because approximately 70% of mental illnesses can be diagnosed before the age of 25, which makes adolescence a critical time for mental health promotion, prevention, early identification and effective treatment of mental illnesses.

In addition to that one in four adults have mental health problems in any one year and in the workplace this prevalence increases to almost one in three employees. This means it’s very likely either you or someone you know has experienced mental health problems this year.

I am excited to be part of the national training team with MHFA England where we seek to make mental health a normal part of everyday conversations; to challenge the stigma associated with mental health and to create a society that is literate in mental health, where we all have the skills to support our own and others’ wellbeing.

We have made huge strides forward and more people are starting to recognise the importance of supporting positive mental health, promoting wellbeing, and ensuring when we experience mental distress or illness we can get swift access to support services we need.

On Monday MHFA colleagues gathered in the Houses of Parliament to ask businesses and politicians to support our call on government to reflect mental health in workplace First Aid regulations. In addition on Monday Natasha Devon MBE and Luciana Berger MP delivered the Where’s Your Head At? Campaign petition to Number 10. Signed by almost 200,000 people, the petition calls on government to ensure every workplace – including schools, colleges and universities – have as many Mental Health First Aiders as they do physical First Aiders.

As you know our Teaching School is a leading provider of mental health training and we have been leading the GM Mentally Healthy Schools Rapid Pilot which is a ground-breaking partnership supported by Jon Rouse.

The GM Mentally Healthy Schools Pilot was a ground-breaking pilot aimed at supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Between March and July 2018 we worked alongside the Youth Sport Trust, Place2Be and 42nd Street to provide a comprehensive package of support to 31 schools across Greater Manchester.

2.jpgThe project embraced a whole system approach combining high quality CPD for leadership teams in schools, ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training for staff and students, using physical activity, life skills and athlete mentors (including former World Thai Boxing Champion Rachael Mackenzie) to year 6 and year 11 students with follow-up targeted student groups and Young Health Ambassadors given the opportunity to shape future provision in their schools.

Please read a blog from one of our partner schools http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/blog-rapid-pilot-at-essa-academy-assistant-principal-pastoral-lead-chris-airy/


We are really excited to be able to share that this pilot is being expanded & all the existing 31 schools will continue to have the investment & support by our 4 partners AND another co-hort of schools will be starting phase 1. This is so exciting for our teaching school & of course for the young people in all our schools who will hugely benefit.

What can you do for WMHD?

In support of this year’s theme, MHFA England are excited to launch a new set of resources for young people’s mental health – the #HandsUp4HealthyMinds toolkit. Please click here to access

The toolkit is for anyone who works with or lives with young people aged 8-24 and aims to provide you with a set of bitesize facts and tips on young people’s mental health. It includes:

  • An interactive quiz to test your knowledge about youth mental health
  • Infographic posters – perfect for sharing or printing, covering topics such as how to start a supportive conversation and tips for young people on tackling stress
  • Downloadable PowerPoint slide deck with facts on youth mental health and why it matters
  • A directory of helpful resources and organisations for further support


We hope that schools, colleges, universities and youth organisations will find these tools useful beyond WMHD, both for their own practice and for engaging with parents and young people around the topic of mental health.

Healthy mind, healthy body

In addition, we at the Alliance for Learning genuinely believe in physical activity – health is health and we believe in healthy mind, healthy body. We work closely with YST https://www.youthsporttrust.org/ who are the UK’s leading experts on the power of PE and school sport to deliver whole school positive outcomes to improve attainment, physical and mental wellbeing and inclusion.

We also whole heartedly support the DAILY MILE! https://thedailymile.co.uk/

This is one of our own schools Stanley Grove Primary school who have even got over a hundred parents involved in their Daily Mile & the impact has been huge!

Keep talking about wellbeing & mental health & let’s make these topics part of everyday conversations.

Thanks for your support

Lisa Fathers

Director of Teaching School & Partnerships

MHFA National Trainer



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