#SpeakYourMind: Leeds Beckett launches UK's first mental health degree for school leaders

Dr Tom Dobson, course director at Leeds Beckett University.
Dr Tom Dobson, course director at Leeds Beckett University.
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The first university Masters degree teaching school leaders how to look after the mental health of young people has been launched in Leeds.

Leeds Beckett University's new Leadership of School Mental Health and Wellbeing course will run for the first time in September 2018, it has been announced.

The part-time two-year Masters course aims to tackle the lack of mental health leadership in UK schools.

It is being launched as the YEP is calling on people to help make Leeds mentally healthy, as part of a renewed focus for our #SpeakYourMind campaign.

The courses, also available as a one-year Postgraduate Certificate, will run at the university’s Headingley Campus and via distance learning online.

Dr Tom Dobson, course director, said: “With children’s mental health and wellbeing a growing concern and with the increasing fragmentation of support services, it is vital that school leaders have the multidisciplinary subject knowledge to implement effective change in a way that is sustainable.

"As it stands, decisions relating to mental health and wellbeing are often made in a way that is not always informed.

"This course will provide school leaders with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions which will make a real difference to the children and staff in their schools.”

Only around half of all schools and colleges in the UK have a designated mental health lead and, of those, not all are clear on how to promote mental health wellbeing and deal with emerging issues, the Department for Education recently found.

The course is targeting leaders in schools who are tasked with developing "whole school approaches" to look after the mental health and wellbeing of pupils.

University bosses say it will equip them with the skills and experience to support and promote student resilience, positive mental health and prevention of mental illness.

The course has a practical focus and will allow school leaders to conduct mental health audits, implement and evaluate whole school action plans.

It will span a range of disciplines, including child therapy, education psychology, mental health nursing, school leadership and teaching.

The course will be delivered in conjunction with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, a partnership between Leeds Beckett University and social enterprise and mental health experts Minds Ahead.

For more information on the course visit www.courses.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/leadership-school-mental-health-wellbeing/

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