Mental health in schools: Make it Count

With more and more schoolchildren in Scotland struggling to cope with their mental health, the Mental Health Foundation has launched a new campaign: ‘Make it Count’.

We are campaigning to ensure every child in Scotland receives an education with mental health at its heart. We know there is no one single way for schools to provide such an environment. To make them mentally healthy places for all who attend and work in them, we need to pursue a 'whole-school' approach to prevention.

More about our campaign

With more and more schoolchildren struggling to cope with their mental health, we have launched a new campaign: 'Make it Count'. We are campaigning to ensure every child in Scotland receives an education with mental health at its heart.

We know there is no one single way for schools to provide such an environment. To make them mentally healthy places for all who attend and work in them, we need to pursue a “whole-school” approach to prevention.  

Teachers, leadership, the curriculum, children, and access to support all contribute to creating a mentally healthy, nurturing environment for children and young people.  We are calling on the government and schools to address all these elements to deliver effective change. 

Our top five asks

  1. All teachers trained in mental health and adolescent brain development by 2020.  
  2. All pupils take part in a “wellbeing questionnaire” once a term to identify and address problems early by 2020.  
  3. A new national target of one hour of quality PSE per week with half of those classes dedicated to building emotional resilience by 2020. 
  4. Every school to adopt a peer-led mental health programme by 2020 to help young people support one another and tackle stigma. 
  5. Mental health support workers, in addition to counsellors, embedded in every school by 2020 to provide fast and effective support. 

Read our policy briefing for the campaign

Why now?

Young people are facing unprecedented pressures in their lives, which are contributing to mental health problems including anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.

Key facts

  • 25% of Scottish parents say that academic pressure and exam stress has caused their children to feel stressed.
  • 31% of Scottish parents say social anxiety has caused their children to feel stressed.
  • 58% of Scottish young people say that a fear of making mistakes has led them to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.
  • 60% of Scottish young people say that pressures to succeed has led them to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.
  • 53% of Scottish young people say their body image has led them to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Guides for pupils, parents and teachers

Mental health in schools: personal stories