How to apply to become a senior leader in the mental health field

Chief Mental Health Officer, Education, DFE

Your school has access to quality assured DfE training to help develop a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, and implement senior mental health leadership to strengthen your team

Credit: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a £1,200 grant to eligible state-funded schools and colleges in England to train a Senior Mental Health Officer to develop and implement a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. This training is not compulsory, but is part of the Government’s commitment to provide such training to all eligible schools and colleges by 2025.

Eligible schools and colleges can now apply for the Senior Mental Health Officer Training Scholarship to commence training during the 2022 to 2023 fiscal year, through March 31, 2023. Grants will be made to cover (or contribute to) the cost of attending a quality-assured course and may also be used to recruit staff Supply while engaging potential customers in learning.

How to apply

There are two forms that you must fill out in order to complete your application and receive your scholarship:

  • one form – Preliminary application form to check your eligibility and book your scholarship.
  • form two The second stage of the application process, where you upload evidence that you have booked a quality assured DfE course so that we can pay your scholarship.

What the training covers

The learning outcomes of the Senior Mental Health Officers training align with the principles of Public Health England and the DfE Promote the health and emotional wellness of children and young people.

Research shows that a coordinated, evidence-based approach to mental health and well-being leads to improved emotional health and well-being in children and young people, and an increased readiness to learn. Schools and colleges that have taken this approach often report improved attendance, attention, behaviour, and achievement. You can reflect on your current approach to setting up your mental health and well-being using the following:

  • Children’s National Bureau Prepares for Recovery: A Self-Review and Signage Tool.
  • an approach developed by Oldham Council, Whole school and college approach to emotional health and mental well-being.
  • Change leadershipDeveloped by the Anna Freud Center
  • The Charlie Waller Trust’s College Mental Health Self-Assessment Tool.

How to identify a great leader in the field of mental health

Schools and colleges can decide who is best suited to take on the role of senior mental health leader and conduct training, as circumstances are different for each setting. Training can be for:

  • School Manager;
  • Deputy principal of the school
  • Member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT);
  • If not a senior leader, an appropriate team member, working with colleagues, having the authority to develop and oversee the school or college in your setting’s approach to mental health and well-being.

If your senior leader is not a member of your school or college SLT, you will need to consider whether the individual has the authority, capacity and support to influence and lead strategic change within the framework.

Eligible settings can only claim one scholarship, therefore, when selecting a senior leader in mental health, you should consider succession plans and career development plans. This will help ensure that your Senior Leader has sufficient time and capacity to meet the terms of the award, including completing training and applying the school or college’s sustainable approach to mental health and wellbeing.

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