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Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools

Volume 6. Interventions and Policies to Enhance Wellbeing

Part 1. Individual and Group Interventions across the Life Course

  1. Katherine Weare1,
  2. Melanie Nind2

Published Online: 11 FEB 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118539415.wbwell038



How to Cite

Weare, K. and Nind, M. 2014. Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools. Wellbeing. 6:1:3:1–48.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Exeter and University of Southampton, U.K.

  2. 2

    University of Southampton, U.K.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 FEB 2014


This chapter outlines the findings of a systematic review of 52 reviews of interventions to promote wellbeing in schools, using a very wide range of search terms. The interventions identified by the reviews had clear and positive impacts on a broad range of outcomes connected with wellbeing, including positive mental health, mental health difficulties, social and emotional skills, violence and conflict, and educational outcomes such as learning and achievement. This current review showed that interventions are not always effective, and the chapter goes on to outline the key evidence-based principles that drive effectiveness in the promotion of wellbeing in schools. The principles include focusing on positive mental health and wellbeing; working holistically to understand the underlying emotional and social causes of behavior; starting interventions early and continuing throughout the school career in age appropriate and spiral ways; identifying key social and emotional skills, such as self awareness, empathy, resilience, motivation and relationship building; teaching the key skills explicitly including through the curriculum; integrating with the academic goals of the school; balancing targeted and universal approaches; taking a long-term perspective; taking a whole-school, multimodal approach; developing a positive school ethos and environment; involving parents and the community; using appropriate leaders at different points in the life course of an intervention; and implementing interventions with clarity and fidelity. Achieving effectiveness and deploying these principles in the real world involves pragmatism, complex balances, and compromises.