1st Edition

Better Mental Health in Schools Four Key Principles for Practice in Challenging Times

By Alison Woolf Copyright 2023
    130 Pages
    by Speechmark

    130 Pages
    by Speechmark

    Better Mental Health in Schools recognises the value of school staff in supporting mental health in children and young people and introduces new skills for enhancing the therapeutic benefits of environments and relationships in schools.

    This book discusses and links to provision in schools and to supporting good mental health in pupils across four key areas for enhancing mental health and wellbeing — Cognition, Compassion, Containment, and Connection. Based in relevant and timely research it provides an accessible insight into practical ways to change practice. Rather than prescribe one programme, or suggest one curriculum design, the book shows how strengthening knowledge and understanding of some basic underpinnings of good mental health will scaffold the development of better mental health in schools and offers illustrations of how that could look in everyday practice.

    Written for practitioners and based on many years of experience in classrooms across a variety of education provisions, this book reflects the lived, experiential perspective of a teacher and school therapist. Through paying attention to these four key areas of daily life in school, staff can create an environment that supports mental wellbeing, while not depleting their own mental health.

    1. The role of schools in addressing mental health and well-being, 2. Cognition, 3. Compassion, 4. Containment, 5. Connection, 6. What are schools for?


    Alison Woolf is a teacher and play therapist. Her experience includes teaching in university, secondary, primary, early years, and special school settings. As a school play therapist, she has worked in mainstream and in SEMH provision, as well as working with looked after and adopted children. Alison is a director of Better Play Ltd which offers training for school teams in: counselling skills in schools, trauma, attachment, and therapeutic play.

    "As an experienced practitioner, Alison Woolf is aware of the complexity of the task that schools are required to do in fostering positive mental health in their students. With all these issues in mind, she builds on her extensive experience as a play therapist and of working therapeutically with children and teachers to address the crucial role that schools continue to play in supporting the mental health of children and young people." – Helen Cowie, Book Review, Pastoral Care in Education

    "The book places great emphasis on deeper alternative thinking to develop practice, making it ideal both for professionals who deliver courses on education and childhood, and the students who take such courses. I will be recommending it to those I work with." - Michelle Bramley-Brookes, British Journal of Special Education

    "Better Mental Health in Schools takes the complex field of improving mental health in schools and makes it accessible to every teacher and school leader... A particular strength of the book is the succinct and well-organized manner in which it has been written. As a SENCo and school leader, I have gained confidence in the ways in which I can develop and maintain better mental health within schools." - Thomas Voice, British Journal of Special Education