Supporting mental health and wellbeing at CfEY


19th May 2024

At CfEY, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people and the adults around them is an important part of our work. Before this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week comes to a close, we wanted to share some of our key projects in this area. Through partnering with others across the education and youth sectors, are committed to driving improvements in the support that all young people receive for their mental health and wellbeing, so they are prepared and equipped to achieve their full potential as they move towards adulthood.

Check out these key examples of our projects and partners in this area, and if you’d like to know more please get in touch!

1. Mental health professional development for school-based staff

Now more than ever, schools are being looked to as key players in identifying young people’s mental health needs and providing frontline support. In this research, we collaborated with the school mental health social enterprise Minds Ahead to examine the current landscape for mental health-related training and development for school-based staff and explore how it might be improved.
Find out what we recommended to help practitioners feel prepared here and watch our roundtable discussion with experts here.

2. Catalysing social emotional learning in schools in England

High quality social and emotional learning (SEL) has the power to positively impact students’ development, academic performance, attitudes, social skills, and mental health. In this report with Impetus, CfEY examined the current state of SEL in schools in England. We set out to understand how policy can create enabling environments to ensure that SEL thrives across our school system, especially benefiting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Learn more about examples of best practice in SEL here.

3. What works to tackle mental health inequalities in higher education?

Moving our focus to HE, we worked with the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (TASO) to examine ‘What works to tackle mental health inequalities in higher education’. For this project, we conducted a large-scale evidence review alongside a mixed-methods sector consultation, discussing themes related to disclosure, targeted support, and evaluation, with practitioners from across the FE and HE sectors.
Explore our conclusions on ‘what works’ to combat inequalities here.

4. Introduction to Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs

Foregrounding the voices of young people is central to our work at CfEY. We travelled all over England, speaking to young people, parents and school staff to create a suite of 12 short films for the Department for Education and Whole School SEND that provide an introduction to different types of SEND, including Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs. Regularly used in teacher training, the films support both new teachers and others who want to refresh their knowledge. They present young people’s experiences in their own words, as well as offering practical teaching tips to help pupils with SEND thrive, alongside advice on a whole school approach, and details of where to find further information.
Hear directly from young people and teachers about supporting Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs in education here.

5. Education and Enrichment

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week was ‘Moments for Movement’. In CfEY’s most recent project with the NCS Trust, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and UK Youth, we explored ways to increase young people’s access to quality enrichment and non-formal learning opportunities, many of which get them outside of the house or classroom to engage with activities like social action and volunteering, outdoor learning, sports and arts clubs, or adventures away from home. These activities provide vital opportunities for young people to improve their mental health and wellbeing, develop essential skills, build confidence, and increase social interaction.
Find out about five key conditions for effective enrichment partnerships between the education and youth sectors here. 

CfEY is also proud to be a part of the Emotional Health Alliance, convened by the Centre for Emotional Health.

If you would like to collaborate with CfEY on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people and the adults around them, or would like a member of the team to speak or write on this topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
You can contact our Head of Engagement, Alix Robertson, on [email protected] for further information.