Children in classroom


The Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People

Evaluation of the Healthy Minds Framework (HMF)

Tom Billington, Penny Fogg, Jamal Lahmar and Sarah Gibson (2019)

Sheffield City Council and Sheffield NHS Children’s Foundation Trust commissioned us to evaluate the Healthy Minds Framework (HMF). HMF was designed by mental health clinicians to provide training for teachers with the stated aim of improving ‘the capacity of school staff to support emotional wellbeing and mental health in schools’. It was one of 15 projects operating in the city financed by ‘Transformation Funding’ provided by NHS England and formed part of a joint strategy designed by the City Council and the city’s NHS Children’s Foundation Trust.
We conducted nearly 40 individual interviews and focus groups, with commissioners and senior policy makers across education and health, service and school leads, teachers and young people and received around 1000 completed questionnaires from teachers and parents across 44 schools. We found that HMF achieved virtually all its stated aims:

  • delivered training to hundreds of school staff on the ‘critical role of attunement and emotional regulation for children’s lifelong learning, health and wellbeing’
  • delivered training on assessment of risk and resilience
  • delivered bespoke training based on the results of school ’Healthy Minds Surveys’
  • developed ‘Healthy Minds Action Plans’ in schools
  • offered reflexive practice frameworks for schools
  • supported the development of ‘Healthy Minds Champions’ in schools (young people)

We recommended that further consideration be given to the following:

  • school expectations and referral pathways to specialist clinical services for children and young people (cyp)
  • inter-agency / service collaboration and information sharing / informed consent
  • systematic incorporation of cyp in the design of mental health initiatives

We found, in particular, strong professional commitment to deliver / engage with HMF at all levels – executive, agency / service leads, individual practitioners (clinicians, teachers) – but also noted the following wider issues:

  • (lack of) availability of youth and community services
  • issues around intersectionality e.g. cyp’s mental health and cultural, ethnic, religious diversity.

The team are disseminating their work at academic conferences and in Journal articles. Below are a few recent events, please click on the links for further details:

Young people and mental health: A psychosocial model for education

Yorkshire and Humberside Educational Psychology Regional Training Day

Mental health discourse in education: Why practitioner psychologists need theory

Mental health discourse in education and the denial of affect: Towards a psychosocial model