Weare, Katherine and Murray, Michael
Building a sustainable approach to mental health work in schools
The International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 6, (2), .
Sustainability is a major challenge to mental health work in schools, and many initiatives started by wellmeaning individuals and agencies fade quickly. This paper outlines some key actions that can be taken to ensure that mental health work is sustained, as well as introduced, in schools. These actions include demonstrating that mental health work meets educational goals such as learning and the management of behaviour, using a positive model of mental well-being to which it is easy for those who work in schools to relate, using mental
health experts as part of a team, forging alliances with other agencies and working with a whole-school approach. Such approaches are more likely to meet the needs of people with more severe mental problems and provide a more stable platform for specialist interventions than targeted programmes. The paper goes on to suggest some practical steps to sustain work at the school level. These steps include assessing the current position, developing the vision, identifying the gaps, determining readiness and assessing the scene for change, securing consensus, planning the change, establishing criteria,
and managing, evaluating and maintaining the change.
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