The all-in-one online platform for mental health leads in schools helped answer many of the DMHL questions I was hearing.
Congratulations, you’ve been appointed as the Designated Mental Health Lead ( DMHL) in your school.
You understand the key aspects of your role and your remit but what will be your first decision?
Having been a DMHL for over 5 years I feel I am qualified to give you some advice.
This role requires a Whole School Approach (WSA) role and will require an extraordinary number of organisational skills as you collaborate with a host of stakeholders from Head Teacher to HR manager, from Pastoral Managers to Parents, From Designated Safeguarding Lead to External Agencies
What is key is that you need to supply the evidence to support any initiatives you want to drive forward which means you need to have a clear strategic way of working.
This is what led me to exploring using EduPod – The all-in-one online platform for mental health leads in schools because it helped answer many of the DMHL questions I was hearing.
- We all know the best way to get evidence is to use validated surveys and first listen to the student and staff voice. But the key question DMHLS’s might ask themselves is where do we get our questions from and how do we know they are fit for purpose?
EduPod provides pre-generated validated surveys for staff, students, parents and governors and collates all the analytics for you.
The reason why it is so important for us schools to use validated surveys is because a) it accurately measures what it aims to do b) the questions have also had to be checked by expert clinicians ensuring safeguarding when thinking about the audience responding.
- Completing a self-assessment audit is key to any institution progressing in implementing a WSA. But the key question DMHLs might ask is which areas do I need to do a self-assessment audit on?
EduPod provides recommendations and provides a logical and prescriptive self-assessment tool which enables you to:
- Capture key statistics to measure impact
- Add notes to capture your evidence
- After you have conducted the survey and the self-assessment audit you need to now evaluate this and break it down into key areas where you will have to action. But the key question DMHLs often ask themselves is where do I start, how do I measure impact, how do I track our progress?
EduPod provides a results dashboard which allows you to compare self-assessment audits and monitor the progress of actions being implemented.
- Deep dive each self-assessment principle result
- Easy to read data and coloured graphs
- Statistics on actions
- One of the things you need to do is provide up-skilling and training for your staff and MHWB team. Ensuring all key stakeholders are properly trained from a safeguarding perspective to sharing key knowledge and skills, is vital in building a WSA. Again, a question I often hear DMHLs ask is where can I access or point staff to for training or get CPD myself to train others?
EduPod provides access to free webinars delivered by experts covering a range of topics to support children's mental health. In addition, there are 100s of learning resources and a library of evidence-based professional resources, created by experts in the field
- These are great resources to help implement action plans.
- Best practice and recommendations
- Bite-size CPD
- Whilst doing all this it's important to have evidence of your progress and to celebrate the targets you reach. Something like a MH award or kite mark scheme is a fantastic way for the whole school to come together and celebrate their achievements.
EduPod 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 followed by a review and ratification from Innovating Minds awarding either Committed, Achieving or Excelling
- Finally, you have to report impacts and Improvements to Governors and SLT and even Ofsted .
EduPod helps you: Add and track key statistics; Measure the impact on attendance and exclusions; Monitor and record key data points to measure improvements.
In conclusion, there are so many more features that signing up to EduPod will offer you from community forums to Healing Together programs to Supervision. It really is a community of mental health clinicians guiding and supporting the DMHL all the way.
So, what do I hear DMHLs say they are worried about?
Who will pay for it?
The question really concerns me because the DFE has made it clear in their Green Paper, Transforming children and young people's mental health provision:
We want every school and college to have a designated lead in mental health by 2025.
Well, I am going to be blunt. If we expect schools to deliver on the WSA then we need to properly resource and equip our DMHLs, their teams and their schools.
It is simple: The DMHL must be given a 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.
If there is no budget and the DMHL role is not properly remunerated then we are merely paying lip service to the mantra of whole school approach to mental wellbeing and that is a very worrying state for our nation's schools to be in.
If you are interested in the EduPod platform like I am, here are the prices below and the link to find out more.