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The Mentally Healthy Schools Workbook

The Mentally Healthy Schools Workbook

Practical Tips, Ideas, Action Plans and Worksheets for Making Meaningful Change

Pooky Knightsmith. Foreword by Norman Lamb.

Quick Overview

This is a hands-on whole-school guide to help staff identify their school's mental health strengths and weaknesses and what can be done to improve them. Packed with helpful tips and ideas, it provides both a framework and practical steps to evaluate and support the mental health and wellbeing of all learners, and staff, and to engage parents too.
2019, Paperback / softback, 11.69in x 8.31in / 297mm x 211mm, 200pp
ISBN: 9781787751484

Availability: In stock



This book is the perfect starting point for anyone looking to promote and encourage mental health in their school, or evaluate their existing provision, in line with current government priorities. It covers not only the day-to-day practical steps you can take to meet the mental health needs of learners, but also a provides a whole bank of ideas for ensuring you adopt a whole-school approach to positive mental health.

Pooky Knightsmith lays out tried and tested tools you can use to evaluate the overall mental health of a school, showing how to improve and support the mental health of staff, and how to ensure that the voice of every learner is heard and valued, including the most vulnerable - and that everyone involved with the school feels safe, healthy and happy. Pooky's simple 'litmus test' framework lays out six practical areas you can explore to implement change within your own school, with explanations, sheets to fill in, tips from loads of school staff, and case examples that break these ideas down into easily digestible chunks. This much-needed book is a jumping off point for meaningful change in all aspects of your school community that will promote, support and strengthen mental health at whole-school level.


'Pooky Knightsmith is the measured, pragmatic voice of reason that mental health in schools needs. If you're confused by the myriad options and opinions out there listen to this and you can't go far wrong. She is always coming from a place of pure kindness, rooted in a solid evidence base.'
- Natasha Devon MBE, Mental Health Campaigner

'Pooky champions everyone invested in the school environment! In this book she offers a clear and consistent way to develop a mentally healthy school; worksheets, action plans, tips and ideas, real-life experiences, inspiring quotes and suggestions for further reading are all offered in a genuine, supportive way. Pooky inspires you to make meaningful changes - as an individual as well as a team - that promote positive mental health in an educational setting and genuinely make a difference.'
- Helen Cossar, School Counsellor, Durham Schools Counselling Service

'Pooky never fails in giving sound, practical, useful advice based on the most current thinking on Mental Health. As a school counsellor, her books are my go-to whenever I doubt my interventions or need support with how to work with parents or staff in the school. I particularly like her '8 top tips' in each chapter of how to make your school 'mentally healthier' and her vision of long-term impact rather than quick fixes. A must-have on your shelf in the school counselling room. I look forward to implementing and changing the mental health in schools with this tool.'
- Amy Hill, School Counsellor

'Pooky has been able to explain things in a clear, easy to understand format. The book has a whole-school approach and each chapter has ideas and action plans to challenge us. Many of these can be achieved almost immediately to congratulate and motivate, and there are examples of excellent practice that can be cherry picked from and signposting for further reading. The litmus test includes everything you need to ensure a mentally healthy school and the self-care toolbox is essential to maintain this.'
- Helen Lilley, Emotional Health Resilience Nurse

'Starting this book I knew which chapters I most needed, on working my way through I was gently but firmly challenged in each of the six areas. This is a sensitive guide that enables honest reflection and has some great ideas. Our school already employs many of the schemes and strategies, but this framework has been brilliant for providing a 'fresh eyes' review of where we are, where we want to be and most importantly a huge range of ways to get there. Clear and practical, well done Pooky! Top tip...never underestimate the power of a toilet door.'
- Jo Weaver, Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Devonport High School for Boys

'Pooky's book is an invaluable compendium of proactive ideas to make any school more mentally healthy. Say goodbye to hours wasted trying to collate resources because Pooky's book offers a concise, multifaceted approach in just 175 pages. I can really envision these ideas, on the ground level, making school a better place for student's like me.'
- Angelette Medonca, Student, Henrietta Barnet School


Key to this new workbook is the strive for small successful changes rather than aiming for big changes and not achieving them. Although aimed at senior leadership, this book is equally useful for practitioners and encourages small wins with little or no budget impact, as well as whole school strategies.

It was good to be reminded right at the start that staff wellbeing is at the heart of a mentally healthy school. This book has been written with this sentiment very much in mind. It is quick to read and easy to use. Chapter one encourages you to do a self-check on your own wellbeing. Chapter two then guides you on how to take an easy audit of your school. This gives you a baseline to start from and helps you to identify which areas you want to focus on and formulate your own tailor-made plan.

Each chapter thereafter follows the same simple format, so it is easy to go straight to the section that is going to be most helpful. Highly recommended for all levels of staff that are committed to becoming a mentally healthy school

- Student Welfare Officer, Uffculme School


By (author): Pooky Knightsmith
Foreword by: Norman Lamb