sWell

Work Package 3 – Understanding how schools respond to young people’s mental health and educational difficulties

Work package 3: Understanding how schools respond to young people’s mental health and educational difficulties

Ellen Nesset Mælan, Hege Tjomsland, Miranda Thurston, Oddrun Samdal & Børge Baklien

Schools in general, and teachers in particular, are increasingly expected to have a role in the promotion of mental health and well-being of young people, alongside their primary educational responsibilities. This is viewed as particularly important because adolescence is a period of transition during which young people can experience mental health difficulties, which, if unmet, can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including under-achievement and drop-out, further reinforcing distress. Although school leaders and teachers have a potentially important role to play, how they negotiate this role alongside their formal everyday roles in teaching and learning has been under-researched. Thus, the focus of this work package is on understanding how schools respond to young people’s mental health and educational difficulties, including how and when they involve other services and parents. In particular, the research focuses on the everyday life of the school and the processes of teaching and learning, which can both challenge and support young people’s mental health development. A mixed methods approach will be used to include survey data, observations, in-depth interviews and focus groups with key stakeholder groups.