26 July 2021

Finding the right platform and provider who can support the DMHL in delivering the Whole School Approach

Being a Designated mental health lead can feel like a very lonely role.

  • You seldom have a dedicated team yet you are leading the whole school.
  • You seldom have had much in depth training as a mental health expert yet you are expected to have one to one conversations with young people who have challenging issues and try and deliver sessions where the young person feels supported and work with external agencies
  • You seldom have had much experience of this Leadership/ management role yet you are expected to deliver and show impact using the usual key performance indicators found in a school setting
  • You seldom have the role in its own right so you juggle your other roles as a educator
  • You seldom have a budget so what a mental health lead sees as important is not seen as priority by another school leader. 

Don't get me wrong - it is a very satisfying and rewarding role but as it is such a new role in schools you are constantly breaking into new territory and this sometimes can feel like an uphill struggle

This is why you have to find a platform and a provider who can support you in delivering this Whole School Approach(WSA) to mental health and wellbeing

Some schools and Designated mental health leads have a budget. Most don't. But what are the benefits of signing up to a  paid vs a  free  platform to support DMHLs & their schools?

To help you shop around, In this blog, I'm going to do a comparative analysis of 2 platforms designed specifically to support schools and designated mental health leads . I'll be comparing a free online platform from a leading mental health charity for children and families , Anna Freud’s 5 steps to mental health and wellbeing and one that that has a subscription fee, EduPod which is a software product designed and developed by Innovating Minds, one of the UK's leading providers of mental health advice, consulting and coaching to education and schools.





Online with individual account access and automatically updated

Online platform that allows you to build a WSA by focusing on

Readiness and motivation

Leadership and Strategy

Working together

Staff support and development

Student support

Online approach to build a WSA by focusing on

Leading Change

Working Together

Understanding need

Promoting Wellbeing

Supporting staff

Self assessment Audit

A logical and prescriptive self-assessment tool where you identify key criteria with either no evidence, some evidence or strong evidence


Unlimited Audits which allow you to compare self-assessment audits across years   and monitor the progress of actions being implemented.


The platform captures key statistics to measure impact


It allows you to complete audits with your team



No self assessment tool only an action planning tool

Surveys to listen to all stakeholders and to assist with self assessment

Ready made  validated surveys checked and provided by mental health clinicians.

Surveys are age relevant and key stage-related & can be automatically sent out from the platform to








No surveys provided to listen to staff/student/parent voice

Survey data

Survey data analytics compiled by the software provider and results broken down into action points


Ease of access to view the results of your Self-Assessment Audit on your bespoke dashboard

n/a as no pre-populated surveys offered

Action planning tool

Offers you a feed and dashboard so you can get a snapshot of your progress - summary of the self-assessment audit, outstanding actions and recommended resources.

Ability to drill down and do a deep dive of each self-assessment principle with suggested action steps for your school to focus on

Actions you can assign to an individual in your staff


Give a date for completion and RAG as To do, in progress or Completed


Easy to read data and coloured graphs


Statistics on actions


Assess, monitor and track progress and identify core areas to focus on;


Add notes to compile evidence of how you’ve met the objectives;




Offers an action planning tool and monitors your progress with a checklist


For each of the 5 criteria it explores it in more detail and breaks it down into achievable sections with a list of details and resources to help you navigate that point . You simply add the detail


Actions you can assign to an individual in your staff



Mark or RAG   each step you’ve taken as either achieved, working towards or not yet in place


Add your own notes about your personalised approach and how you are developing your own plans


Revisit your action planning tool at any time to update and review your progress



Free webinars delivered by experts and webinars covering a range of topics to support children's mental health.

Catch up on the webinars you have missed.

 100s of relevant mental health resources delivered by experts on

Leadership and Strategy

Working together

Staff support and development

Student support

Useful Resources provided as you work through the 5 action points to help clarify context and why for

Leading Change

Working Together

Understanding need

Promoting Wellbeing

Supporting staff

Accreditation or Kite mark scheme

Offers every participating school an exclusive award and accreditation scheme. The award process supports and helps schools to excel in creating sustainable mentally   healthy environments and celebrates the achievements.

The award process includes a  self-assessment Where you select notes from self-assessment audits to add as supporting evidence to submit with your application

This is then followed by a review and ratification from Innovating Minds awarding either Committed, Achieving or Excelling

No mental health award accreditation or kitemark scheme offered

Community Forum

By joining EduPod you get automatic access to the Free community online platform so you can engage with professionals in educational and healthcare settings. Connect, Share & Support.

Schools in Mind is offered which is a network for school staff and allied professionals. By joining the network you will have access to termly newsletters and events, updates on current research, thinking and training, in regards to the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people

MH & WB training

100+ Learning Resources

A library of evidence-based professional resources, created by otherwise hard-to-reach experts and professionals. They bring you practical resources for sharing and learning.

Resources to help implement action plans

Best practice and recommendations

Bite-size CPD

Includes video, PowerPoint, leaflets, classroom activities

 All Included in the subscription fee

9 training workshops operating as Online courses offered which range from WSA to supporting YP with anxiety and bereavement .

 Prices range from £75 to £150

 Over 40 Free Resources which educators, parents & carers can access to support mental wellbeing of young people


Senior Mental Health Lead training

Innovating Minds is a recognised CPD provider on MH training. They are offering 2 days of training which will equip delegates to fulfil their role and lead on the whole school approach to mental health.

 Throughout the two days of training; you will learn how to implement the recommended principles and recommendations by Public Health England and the Department for Education.

Delegates will also be provided access to the online platform EduPod; this will enable you to plan; manage and evaluate the strategy you have embedded.

Through the Link Program

A programme to bring together local leaders in education and mental health to identify the support required by children and young people in their area. Tailored support sessions are being offered : these are available online to local education and mental health professionals to address the greatest challenges. Topics and the format of the sessions will be based on local needs and selected by the local authority and CCG, in consultation with the Anna Freud Centre.

They might include understanding referral pathways, how and when to make an appropriate referral, developing and operationalising a whole-school approach to mental health, and measuring and monitoring pupil mental health needs.


Case studies provided

Blogs and case studies from schools and MH leads to give examples of the plan in action

Case studies from schools & colleges to give examples of how these actions have worked

Coaching and Clinical Support

Coaching and Clinical Support

You can add coaching and clinical support to your package if you require clinical consultation and coaching to embed your whole school approach to mental health.


No coaching and clinical support offered

Different packages and levels of support

3 different pricing plans and an opportunity to tailor make the package to your school depending on where you are in your WSA

No fee. One package offered to all

The Anna Freud 5 steps to mental health and wellbeing is fantastic as a free resource and really does offer the DMHL expert guidance and support to get started. However you can clearly see the extra wrap around support offered by the comprehensive EduPod platform. You get so much more support from the surveys to the supervision.

What if the DMHL wants to be more thorough and have access to validated surveys (to ensure safeguarding is addressed when asking questions) and to ensure the voice of all stakeholders are heard; wants access to the additional training; wants to ensure that supervision and clinical support is in place for their teams; wants to buy into the accreditation scheme to reward the school for their hard work like offered through the comprehensive EduPod platform?

It is simple: The DMHL must be given their own Mental Health and Wellbeing budget to roll out a WSA so they can seriously consider support structures like what is offered via the EduPod online platform.

We know a priority was set out by the DFE Green Paper, ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision that they want a DMHL role in schools by 2025.

If there is no budget and the DMHL role is not properly remunerated then we are merely paying lip service to the mantra of the whole school approach to mental wellbeing

If you are interested in both these platforms here is the link to the Anna Freud framework - 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing

In addition, here is information about the EduPod platform and the link to find out more.

Get In Touch

Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more, we love to talk!