Trainee teachers focus on pupils’ mental health

Student teachers are strengthening their understanding of pupils’ mental health needs thanks to a University partnership with a leading charity.

Pupils health

The students are gaining fresh insights from mental health clinicians as part of an initiative that complements course work taught by their tutors.

The new programme equips students with skills to help them gauge pupils’ wellbeing emotional resilience – the ability to cope with life’s ups and downs.

The initiative involves staff in the University’s Moray House School of Education and Sport and children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

It enables students to interact with a dedicated Place2Be clinician and to join sessions called Place2Think, where they reflect on how teaching is affecting their own wellbeing.

The more we can do to prepare students teachers for the challenges they will face in the classroom, the more confident and successful they will be.

Dr Zoè RobertsonDirector of Teacher Education, University of Edinburgh

Open approach

Teams of mental health professionals from Place2Be work in partnership with schools to help to create a culture of openness and promote positive mental health..

They seek to ensure that potential problems can be identified at an early stage and that children can access support in a safe and familiar environment.

The charity has also developed a student teacher version of its Mental Health Champions foundation programme – an online training course designed to foster wellbeing in schools.

Edinburgh is the only UK university providing its student teachers with this dynamic resource, which has been launched this term following a two year pilot scheme.

We are pleased to help Scottish teachers feel better equipped with the  understanding they need to support children’s mental health – as well as their own.’

Jacqueline CassidyHead of Service for Scotland & Wales, Place2Be

Crucial role

The University’s Director of Teacher Education Dr Zoè Robertson said the new approach could play a crucial role in easing some of the pressures student teachers face.

Place2Be’s Head of Service for Scotland & Wales, Jacqueline Cassidy, said teachers across Scotland wanted greater understanding of – and support for – mental health in teaching.

Former Edinburgh student Lizzie Hay, now a teacher at Kirkcaldy High School, found that the Place2Be pilot provided her with key skills to support pupils’ mental health.

“It also helped me to realise the importance of her own mental health,” says Lizzie, “and how it feels to be a teacher. Place2Think allowed me to take a step back.

“I could speak about my experiences and receive guidance from a mental health clinician on how to support my learners but also how to look after myself.”  

Related links

Moray House School of Education and Sport


Picture Credit– fstop123 via Getty images