School Mental Health Specialist

A new way to lead mental health support across your school, inspiring students to reach their potential.


Having a dedicated school mental health specialist on the school team is a proactive way to integrate qualified mental health support into the school. Minds Ahead are developing a unique school-based training programme, ensuring the full integration to school processes and the ability to make a difference from the start.


Schools are facing a mental health crisis and are struggling to access the support that they need. Outcomes for students with a mental health need are very low, attendance is a major concern. Staff wellbeing is also affected with over half of teachers saying that their personal relationships are affected by their challenges at work.

We are letting teachers and students down.

Schools value having mental health expertise onsite, accessible and integrated into their team, yet there has not been a school-based route into mental health.


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.


Nicky Morgan MP, former Secretary of State for Education supported the co-produced Minds Ahead 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 pleased 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 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 thrilled 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."


Minds Ahead have won a highly competitive ‘Grow it’ Award from UnLtd to support the development of this new programme. This supports the initial design of this new programme.

Minds Ahead are seeking additional supporters to take this initiative further, as well as schools leaders interested in having their own School Mental Health Specialist.

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"Dean Johnstone, the chief executive of Minds Ahead argued for youth mental health work to be transformed into a career of choice for young graduates."



Schools week, 24 May 2018