Evaluating PsychEd: a mental health and well-being educational programme for secondary schools

Alexandra Pittock, Laura Meagher, Stephen M Lawrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Young people's mental health and well-being is an important concern in the UK. Provision of education and support to schools has been highlighted as an area for improvement; however, evidence-based programmes are scarce and costly.

AIMS: To provide an acceptable education programme to improve pupils' confidence and knowledge of mental health and well-being. It covered the mental and emotional well-being outcomes set by the Scottish Government in their schools' curriculum.

METHOD: Lessons were designed by A.P. and delivered by volunteer doctors and medical students, and supervised by a psychiatrist. Outcomes were measured using questionnaires before and after lessons with optional comments.

RESULTS: PsychEd was piloted in 2016 in six schools to pupils between the ages of 11 and 18. There was a statistically significant improvement in pupil confidence and knowledge after the lessons (P < 0.001). Of the pupils 84% felt that having lessons on mental health was useful. Qualitative feedback was also collected and coded into positive, constructive and negative comments. In total, 72% of pupil comments were positive.

CONCLUSIONS: PsychEd showed promising results. Future areas of development include reaching a greater number of local authority schools, longer training for volunteers and provision of teaching materials to teachers for their own use.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST: None.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e36
JournalBJPsych Open
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019

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