Press release: Minds Ahead secures support from Unltd to create a new School Mental Health Specialist training programme

Minds Ahead have secured support from UnLtd, the UK’s foundation for social entrepreneurs, to create a new role that will transform mental health in schools.

The funding and tailored package of support from UnLtd will support Minds Ahead’s vision of helping our schools to become world leaders in mental health, by creating a new school mental health specialist role.

Minds Ahead CIC started in 2017 to address the mental health crisis faced by schools. Working with partners, Minds Ahead has launched innovative services to schools, including the UK’s first Masters in School Leadership of Mental Health.

This new development follows the publication of a LKMCo report in Summer 2018, which called for the creation of a new mental health specialist role to be based in schools, so that students can access specialist support in a timely way.

The ‘School Mental Health Specialist’ will ensure that schools have dedicated and qualified support as part of the school team. These new specialists will undergo a specifically designed masters level training programme, drawing on the latest expertise in school mental health. This new specialist training programme will be jointly designed and informed by school leaders, educational experts and mental health experts. The first meeting of this will take place in the House of Commons in October and is supported by Nicky Morgan, MP, former Secretary of State for Education.

Nicky Morgan also supported the original report that identified the need for the School Mental Health Specialist, said: “It is increasingly obvious that there is more need for mental health support in our schools. I am delighted that Dean and Minds Ahead are working on developing a new Masters’ programme which will bring school mental health expertise to our schools. I am pleased to be a part of the group sharing thoughts on this new qualification.”

Scott Jacques, Executive Headteacher, Springwell Academy, is part of the design group. He said: “Running a special academy which serves children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, makes it clear to me that we need new and informed training routes into working in mental health in schools. I am thrilled that Minds Ahead are working to develop the School Mental Health Specialist and I am delighted to be a part of the group designing this new qualification.”

The new school mental health specialist will be accredited at Masters level at Leeds Beckett University. Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education said: “The Carnegie School of Education, at Leeds Beckett University, have worked successfully with Minds Ahead since their inception and I am pleased that we can develop this relationship further by working together on this new qualification. Schools desperately need quality and accessible mental health support. The School Mental Health Specialist will provide this when it is launched in 2021.”

Nas Morley, UnLtd Director of Partnerships & Influence, underlined the importance of the expertise and support on offer and said: “Enterprising people are at the heart of so much positive change across the UK, so it’s wonderful for UnLtd to be able to provide support for this social venture. We hope that our tailored package of support will help to develop many more sustainable businesses that will deliver lasting social impact. We’re living in particularly challenging times, so some of these ideas and innovations are urgently needed.”

Dean Johnstone, Minds Ahead, said: “Our schools, children and young people deserve nothing less that world class mental health support. I started Minds Ahead in 2017 to challenge the systems and show that new ways are possible. In these two years we have launched the UK’s Centre for Mental Health in Schools; designed and delivered the UK’s first Masters for School Leaders of Mental Health; and designed the UK’s Mental Health in Schools, which is now being used by over 500 schools to evaluate and improve their mental health strategy. Minds Ahead have also provided quality training programmes to over 1,100 teachers, school leaders and governors in the UK and abroad. This support from UnLtd enables the development of another piece of this much needed support to schools. I am very much looking forwards to the development of the School Mental Health Specialist over the coming months.”

UnLtd is working hard with partners from both the public and private sectors to help deliver social impact by harnessing the huge potential of social entrepreneurs to solve society’s biggest challenges. The organisation is focused on three big impact areas; resilient communities, employability and solutions for an ageing society.

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Editor’s notes

For more information, please email office@mindsahead.org.uk

Minds Ahead: www.mindsahead.org.uk

Twitter: @Minds_Ahead

Any UnLtd questions should be directed to Ruth Coustick-Deal, ruthcoustick-deal@unltd.org.uk or Alastair Mogg, alastairmogg@unltd.org.uk

About UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs

UnLtd funds and support passionate and committed social entrepreneurs who are determined to tackle the key issues facing society.

UnLtd began in 2002 and since then has given out over 13,000 awards of support and funding, direct and through partners, to social entrepreneurs to start up and scale their impact. It supports individuals running ventures firmly rooted in delivering positive social change.

On top of this, UnLtd has developed a vibrant network of supporters in the UK and across the globe and is at the heart of a thriving movement for social change. Social entrepreneurs have solutions to some of the most pressing issues faced by society. UnLtd brings together insight and innovation from across the world so that social entrepreneurs can fulfil their potential to change the UK for the better.

For more information about the support offered by UnLtd go to www.unltd.org.uk

Twitter: @UnLtd

Facebook: www.facebook.com/unltd

YouTube: www.youtube.com/unltdvideos

Report calling for school mental health specialists, created by LKMCo, in Partnership with Minds Ahead: https://www.lkmco.org/what-does-it-take-for-a-child-to-get-help-with-their-mental-health/