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Unit information: Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing in Educational Contexts in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing in Educational Contexts
Unit code EDUCM0079
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Bakopoulou
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Children and young people’s mental health and well-being is influenced by developmental processes at multiple levels, from individual to socio-cultural. Approaches to working with mental health and well-being need to be informed by this dynamic and interactional system. The unit will aim to equip students with the knowledge necessary for understanding children and young people’s mental health and well-being from this unique perspective. The unit will also draw upon other perspectives, including early intervention, health and social inequalities, developmental psychopathology, risk and resilience and protective factors.

The unit will aim to:

Review different theories of children and young people’s mental health involved in the complex structure of typical and atypical development, including psychodynamic, humanistic, behaviourist, cognitive behavioural approaches and eco-systemic interactional theoretical perspectives of mental health;

Consider the different child, family and school factors impacting on children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing as well as the factors known in research as risk/contributing versus protective factors;

Review in greater detail research related to the impact of poor mental health on children’s educational attainment and the central role that schools can play in children and young people’s social, emotional and academic development

Examine the research evidence on the impact of health and social inequality on children’s mental health and wellbeing;

Explore the research evidence on the importance of early intervention in tackling the problem and supporting the development of social and emotional learning of children and young people in schools.

Review a range of interventions aiming to improve children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on a review of high-quality social and emotional skills-based interventions within the context of whole-school approach and effective teaching practices to support social and emotional learning as part of everyday classroom activity.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, the students will demonstrate that they have:

  1. Demonstrated a systematic understanding of knowledge of key concepts and critically engaged with relevant debates in the current study of mental health generally, and within educational contexts, especially the context of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
  2. Developed the ability to critically evaluate up to date theory and research in the field of children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
  3. Demonstrated a critical awareness of the key implications of a pupil’s mental health and wellbeing to engagement with learning and academic attainment.
  4. Developed an awareness of the ethical issues and practices of the field.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of lectures, class discussion, debates and group presentations. In each lecture, a new core topic in the field of children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing will be introduced and debated through class participation and discussions.

The seminars will focus on exploring the lecture topics in greater detail (through critical engagement of related research literature, and practical exercises). Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a regular basis.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment

Group presentation debating the role of schools in supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing from a socio-cultural perspective.

Summative assessment

Pamphlet (30%) – 1000-word equivalent. An informative pamphlet aiming to reduce stigma. Students can focus on a particular mental health need or overall mental health and wellbeing. ILOs 1-4

Essay 2500-word (70%). ILOs 1-4

Reading and References

Association of School and College Leaders & National Children’s Bureau (2016). Keeping young people in mind – findings from a survey of schools across England, UK.

Belfield, C., Bowden, B., Klapp, A., Levin, H., Shand, R.. & Zander, S. (2015), “The economic value of social and emotional learning”, Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Department of Health (2015). Future in Mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, UK.

Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., Ford, T., & Goodman, R. (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain. Office for National Statistics, UK.

Greenberg, M. T., Domitrovich, C. E., Weissberg, R. P., & Durlak, J.A. (2017). Social and emotional learning as a public health approach to education. The Future of Children, 27(1), 13-32.

Gutman, L.M., Joshi, H., Parsonage, M., & Schoon, I. (2015). Children of the New Century: Mental health findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. Centre for Mental Health & UCL Institute of Education, UK.

The Children’s Society (2017). Good Childhood Report 2017, UK

Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Domitrovich, C. E., & Gullotta, T. P. (2015). Social and emotional learning: Past, present, and future. In Durlak, J.A., Domitrovich, C.E., Weissberg, R.P., Gullotta, T.P., & Comer, J. (eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice (pp. 3-19). New York, NY: Guilford Press.