An evaluation of the Peer Education Project (PEP) to improve mental health literacy in secondary school pupils

The Peer Education Project is a secondary school based, educational programme that aims to give young people the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard their mental health, and that of their peers.

It is incredibly important that as a school we support our students to explore and understand what mental health is, in a safe environment. The topic of mental health should not be seen as ‘an add on’ or a one-off lesson, pupils should continue to have opportunities to explore and develop their own ways of looking after their wellbeing. The Peer Education Project is one of the many ways we are supporting students in our school.

- Staff Lead

Executive Summary: An independent evaluation of the Peer Education Project, 2020-2022

This evaluation was conducted by the University of Bristol and Lancaster University, from January 2020 to May 2022.

The evaluation aimed to understand:

  • the mechanisms through which PEP might improve young people’s mental health literacy
  • any challenges with delivery
  • how the project can be embedded within wider school life
  • how it can be improved to be of most benefit to the widest number of young people

The evaluation also tested a bespoke mental health literacy questionnaire, understanding the feasibility of using it to measure outcomes in preparation for a future study evaluating effectiveness.

Prior to the evaluation, a review of the relevant literature was conducted to identify how peer education as a model is currently used in secondary schools for several different health outcomes.

Find out more from our report and presentations below.

Cover of the PEP Executive Summary Report 2020-2022, cropped to a square

Evaluation presentation at Public Health Scientific Conference (South West)

Delivered by Ms Esther Curtin, MSc.

Evaluation presentation at the Public Mental Health (PMH) Virtual Symposium 2022

Delivered by Dr Steve Dodd, PhD.

This research study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research (project number SPHR PHPES025). The views and opinions expressed in the papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR. The funding body played no role in the design, collection, analysis, interpretation or writing of the manuscript.

Learn more about PEP

The Peer Education Project (PEP) can be delivered in your school in 4 simple steps - we provide all the resources and support you need!
Read more about this programme
Boy and school girl
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