Mental Health Issues

Updated Nov 2022 (DM)




At WSE, we are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff. Our culture is supportive, caring, and respectful.


At WSE, we know that everyone experiences different life challenges, and that each of us may need help to cope with them sometimes. We understand that anyone and everyone may need additional emotional support, especially when moving to a new country.


At WSE, positive mental health is everybody’s responsibility. We all have a role to play.




This policy is a guide to all staff, including teachers, management, and non-teaching staff. It outlines our approach to promoting student mental health and wellbeing. It should be read and understood alongside our other relevant school policies.



The aim of our policy is to demonstrate our commitment to the mental health of our staff and students.


At our school, we will always:


• Ensure our students and staff feel comfortable sharing any concerns and worries.

• Encourage students and staff to be confident and help to promote their self-esteem.

• Help students and staff to develop resilience and ways of coping with setbacks.


We will always promote a healthy environment by:







All staff members have a responsibility to promote the mental health of students and each other. However, certain staff members have a specific role in the process.


These are:


• Designated Safeguarding Lead: Julie Ransley

• Designated Safeguarding Person: Akosua Sarpong


If a member of staff is concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of a student, then in the first instance they should speak to: Julie Ransley or Akosua Sarpong. If a student presents a medical emergency then relevant procedures will be followed, including involving the emergency services.




Our curriculum is developed to give students the skills, knowledge, and understanding they need to keep themselves mentally healthy. This includes resilience techniques and training. We will regularly review our curriculum and lesson content to ensure that they’re meeting the aims outlined in this policy. We’ll also implement this into our curriculum at all stages to provide students with strategies to help keep them mentally well.




We have a range of support available in school for any students struggling, as listed below:

Open door offices: students can come to speak to any member of staff they feel comfortable with, at any time.


Safeguarding officers: if a student has a particular welfare concern, they can speak to the safeguarding team: Julie Ransley (DSL), Akosua Sarpong (DSL), Fiona Dunlop, Susi Wright, Sandro Saviolo, Julian Oakley, or Duncan MacInnes.


Counselling services: we can refer students for a range of counselling services offered by the Wimbledon Guild (opposite the school) or other organisations (eg Merton Council).


GP services: please see main student handbook for details of GP services in the area.




We will ensure that all staff, students, and parents are aware of the support that is available in our school for mental health. This includes how to access further support, both inside and outside of school hours.




All of our staff are trained in how to recognise warning signs of common mental health problems. This means that they are able to offer help and support to students who need it, when they need it. These warning signs will always be taken seriously and staff who notice any of these signs will communicate their concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Officer as appropriate.


Staff are able to identify a range of behaviour and physical changes, including:


• Physical signs of harm.

• Changes in eating and sleeping habits.

• Increased isolation from friends and family and becoming socially withdrawn.

• Changes in mood.

• Talking and/or joking about self-harm and/or suicide.

• Drug and alcohol abuse.

• Feelings of failure, uselessness, and loss of hope.

• Secretive behaviour.

• Clothing unsuitable for the time of year, e.g. a large winter coat in summer.

• Negative behaviour patterns, e.g. disruption. Staff will also be able to identify a range of issues,   


• Attendance and absenteeism.

• Punctuality and lateness.

• Changes in educational attainment and attitude towards education.

• Family and relationship problems.


Finally, staff will be well placed to identify any additional needs arising from difficulties that may impact a person’s mental health and wellbeing, such as bereavement and health difficulties.




If a student discloses concerns about themselves or a friend to any member of staff, then all staff will respond in a calm, supportive, and non-judgemental manner. All disclosures will be recorded confidentially and only shared with the appropriate authorities if it is necessary to keep the student safe, in line with our Safeguarding Policy.


The disclosure record will contain:


• The date of the disclosure.

• The name of the staff member to whom the disclosure was made.

• The nature of the disclosure and the main points from the conversation.

• Agreed next steps.




If a member of staff thinks it is necessary to pass on concerns about a student, either to somebody inside the school or somebody outside it, then this will first be discussed with the student.


They will be told:


• Who the staff member is going to tell.

• What the staff member is going to disclose.

• Why it is necessary for somebody else to be told.

• When the contact will be.


However, it may not be possible to gain the student’s consent first, such as in the case of students who are at immediate risk. Protecting a student’s safety is our main priority so we would share disclosures if we judged a child to be at risk.





We take a whole school approach towards the mental health of our students. This means working with parents and carers and with other agencies and partners, where necessary.




We aim to support parents of students under 18 years old as much as possible. This means keeping them informed about their child / client and offering our support at all times.


To support parents and agents of under-18s we will:


• Highlight sources of information and support about mental health and emotional wellbeing that we have in our school.

• Ensure that parents or agents are aware of who to talk to if they have any concerns about their child / client.

• Ensure this policy is easily accessible to parents or agents.




As part of our whole school approach, we will also work with other agencies to support our students’ emotional health and wellbeing. This might include liaising with:


• Medical services.


• Counselling services.

• Therapists.

• Family support workers.

• Behavioural support workers.




We understand that, when a student is suffering from mental health issues, it can be a difficult time for their peers. In response to this, we will consider, on a case by case basis, any peers that may need additional support. We will provide support in a one-on-one or group setting. These sessions will be guided by the student, but they will discuss how peers can help, how peers can access support themselves, and healthy ways of coping with any emotions they might be feeling.




All staff receive regular training in mental health so that they can recognise and respond to mental health issues. This forms part of their regular safeguarding training and is a requirement to keep students safe. We will consider additional training opportunities for staff and we will support additional CPD throughout the year where it becomes appropriate due to developing situations with students.




This policy is reviewed at least annually. This is so that it remains up to date, useful, and relevant. We also regularly review it in accordance with local and national policy changes, and in response to any changes in personnel or changes in any other area.