Mental health


Childhood and adolescence is an important time for social and emotional development.  At the same time, having good mental and physical health supports young people in managing the challenges they encounter during their development. [1]


Mental health should be a feature of all school health promotion initiatives. Not only the foundation of life-long mental health is established in the early years, a whole school approach will also lead to a higher school connectedness, a better school climate and school improvement.


Schools can play an important role in the mental health and well-being of their students and staff.  Obtaining the skills needed for academic success can contribute to a better life quality in students.[1] A positive school environment can promote good mental health in students and staff; in turn, good mental health of students and staff can promote academic performance in students and reduce staff absenteeism.  Bullying and feelings of not being accepted by peers and teachers contributes to poor mental health in students. [1

Important strategies for promoting mental health in schools include:

  • social and emotional learning
  • include family, community and services
  • integrate and plan mental health promotion that complement each other and are included in overall strategic planning

What makes school initiatives on mental health effective?

Evidence shows successful mental health initiatives in schools (factsheet 2):

  • are well designed and grounded in tested theory and practice;
  • link the school, home and community;
  • address school ecology and environment;
  • combine a consistency in behavioural change goals through connecting students, teachers, family and community;
  • foster respectful and supportive relationships among students, teachers and parents;
  • use interactive learning and teaching approaches;


Spotlight - mental health in schools publications

PROMINDS report: a whole school framework to school based mental health

Recently a report was published on the development of a whole school mental health framework. The study focused on effective programmes on promoting mental health in schools or on children with mental health problems. Read more about the framework for mental health in schools


Related links



News: Mental health and well-being in schools

Children’s views on their lives and well-being in 15 countries

Children are more likely to be happy with their friendships in Europe and more likely to be happy with their school lives in Africa, says a global survey from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. This report provides an insight into
children's family and home life, friendships, school life, personal mental health and well-being, views on children's rights and their overall happiness. Read more about the report: Children's views on their lives and well-being