Mental health training set to support teachers in Scotland

16th May 2019

SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has launched a new free e-learning resource ‘We All Have Mental Health’ for school teachers across Scotland.

The online training resource aims to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge to recognise and respond to pupils who are experiencing mental health problems.

In 2017 SAMH surveyed over 3,000 school staff, and found that two-thirds of teachers didn’t feel they had received sufficient training in mental health to allow them to carry out their role. The mental health charity has created “We All Have Mental Health” in direct response to that feedback using charitable funds.

In response to growing concerns about children and young people’s mental health highlighted by organisations including SAMH, the Scottish Government has recently committed to ensuring all secondary schools across Scotland have a counsellor from 2020 onwards. SAMH wants to see a whole-school approach, in which all school staff are able to support students through mental health challenges.

‘We All Have Mental Health’ has been designed to provide an introduction to mental health for teachers. The resource has been created by SAMH in conjunction with the General Teaching Council for Scotland and teachers including Pam Steel, a PE teacher at Wallace High who is a leading advocate for mental health best practice andhas been seconded to SAMH.

Highlighting the power of listening to students about their concerns, the tool focuses on common challenges that teachers face, pulling together real-life case studies from pupils and parents on a wide range of mental health scenarios.

‘We All Have Mental Health’ also emphasises the importance of teachers’ own mental health and self-care, providing tips to improve their wellbeing and manage stress.

One of the first schools to benefit from the online training tool is Armadale Academy in West Lothian, where SAMH is also piloting a programme to help young people transition from school into further education

Barry Speedie, deputy head teacher at Armadale Academy, said: “All of the teachers at our school will be completing this excellent new training, which will help to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need. We’re delighted to have piloted this training and will keep working with SAMH in future to ensure our pupils get the best support possible ”

Pam Steel, education development officer at SAMH, said: “Everyone with a role in a young person’s life should be confident that they can help – parents, teachers, sports coaches, youth workers. When it comes to mental health, the golden rule for teachers is ‘recognise, respond, and refer’. Through our new online tool, teachers now have access to a resource which can help them recognise, respond to and, if necessary, refer pupils who are experiencing mental health problems. Thanks to our pilot with Armadale Academy, we know that teachers value the training and advice, so we’re hopeful that this can become a central resource for all teachers across Scotland.”

Teachers can access ‘We All Have Mental Health’ via the SAMH website: