Key Voices #136 – Exploring the role of the senior mental health lead with Andy Mellor from Carnegie Centre of Excellence in Mental Health

“If you can imagine a spectrum of wellbeing from +10 to -10, 0 to -10 is where we’ve worked historically, so when people have fallen ill either physically or mentally we’ve tended to intervene... generally when things are bad enough that external support is needed. What we are trying to do with this approach is to move organisations to a point where day to day we are working on 0 to +10” 

This week we talk to Andy Mellor,  Strategic Lead for the Carnegie Centre of Excellence in Mental Health in Schools based at Leeds Beckett University, and the National Wellbeing Director for Schools Advisory Service about mental health and wellbeing. We discuss the emerging role of the senior mental health lead and the various aspects of this role and associated training. We also consider the need for whole school preventative approaches, as well as support for those most acutely affected by mental health difficulties. Andy also shares some successful strategies from his own time as a headteacher.  

We talk about: 
  • Andy’s own long career working in and with schools 
  • The changing landscape with regard to volume and complexity of mental health need 
  • Andy’s advice for serving headteachers based on his experience
  • The links Andy has observed between schools that have a strong wellbeing approach and sustained school improvement 
  • The role of senior mental health leads and what their training might involve
  • The full range of areas the senior mental health lead could be having an impact on, and the importance of that person either being on the SLT or having good access to those who are
  • Some of the ways in which Andy improved pupil engagement and outcomes using a wellbeing informed approach 
  • Different training and support options available for senior mental health leads including a free community
  • How schools might think about the mental health of their staff and the importance of school leaders prioritising their own mental health and wellbeing 


  • You can sign up to the free senior mental health lead community Andy mentions here

    “I think school leaders are past masters at making bad situations work but schools are currently on their knees. If you combine all of this with decreasing funding levels and increased responsibility, it feels like we are coming close to a breaking point.”

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