Mental health education in secondary schools: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/01142
Date received: 14 April 2018
Date responded: 30 April 2018

Information requested

Initiatives and projects that have been implemented by the Scottish Government within secondary schools relating to:

  • reducing the social stigma surrounding mental health

  • increasing mental health education.


Mental Health Education.

The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people is an absolute priority for the Scottish Government. In schools, health and wellbeing is a curricular area in its own right, with a distinct set of experiences and outcomes. Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) has an important role to play in promoting the health and wellbeing of children and young people and all of those in the educational communities to which they belong.

As part of CfE, all practitioners are expected to embed aspects of health and wellbeing in their lessons, regardless of what subject specialism they are delivering. All adults who work in schools have a responsibility to support and develop Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing. Positive relationships within an ethos and culture of mutual respect are the building blocks to developing children and young people's mental health and wellbeing and helping them to make the right choices and cope when they are faced with challenging situations.

Under the experience and outcome (HWB 06a), teachers must ensure that children and young people understand the importance of mental wellbeing and that this can be fostered and strengthened through personal coping skills and positive relationships. Children and young people should have an understanding that it may not always be possible to enjoy good mental health and that if this happens there is support available. It is for the local authority and schools to decide how to develop their own approaches to implement Curriculum for Excellence and they will be using a range of approaches and resources to support children and young people with their mental and emotional wellbeing based on local needs and circumstances. Education Scotland promote positive wellbeing through a number of approaches and provide a number of resource documents to support schools. This support is provided through GLOW - the Scottish Schools National Intranet managed by Education Scotland or made available via the National Improvement Hub -

Mental Health Link Worker

A number of authorities provide access to school based counselling in their schools. A mental health link person is available to every school and this has been achieved in a variety of ways using various models working to meet local needs. The link worker may be a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) clinician or another speciality such as a primary care worker. However, the named link person will be able to contact specialist CAMHS services for advice if they have any concerns about a pupil.

Mental Health Strategy

Our 10-year Mental Health Strategy was published last year, and sets out our vision to improve mental health in Scotland. A key section in the Strategy deals with prevention and early intervention. That section outlines our ambition that every child and young person should have appropriate access to emotional and mental wellbeing support in school. The very first action in the Strategy commits to a review of Personal and Social Education (PSE), the role of pastoral guidance in local authority schools, and services for counselling for children and young people. You can find out more about the review at

You may also want to have a look at page 11 and 12 of the Strategy which contains information about the context of mental health in Scotland. Action 2 of the strategy is to rollout mental health training for those who support young people in educational settings, you can find out about the strategy at:

Mental Health First Aid Training

The Scottish Government continues to provide funding to Education Scotland to support the delivery of Scotland's Mental Health First Aid Training for Children and Young People in many secondary schools communities. The aim of this is to train staff within secondary school's to increase their confidence in approaching pupils who they think might be struggling with a mental health problem. This training will complement the range of mental health strategies that are already in place within the local authorities. You can find out more about the course content here:

The Scottish Government and Comic Relief fund See Me, Scotland's national campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

See Me has quickly established a reputation as internationally ground-breaking in its scope, ambition and delivery. It has put the issue of mental health stigma firmly within the public arena and is working to challenge stigma and discrimination at its roots - wherever people experience it - at work, through health and social care, in education, at home or in local communities.

About FOI The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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