Talking to pupils when they make mental health disclosures
What to say during initial conversations and what to do next.
It is important that PSHE teachers are aware that when they lead whole-class sessions on issues like mental health, such discussions can trigger responses in individual pupils who may then choose to make a disclosure about a personal situation. The way in which that disclosure is first handled will be critically important, both in terms of the pupil’s immediate feelings and his or her likelihood of engaging in future support.
It is crucial, therefore, that clear ground rules are set for PSHE lessons, one of which will be that personal matters should not be discussed in a group setting, another that while PSHE teachers are always willing to talk to pupils about the pupil’s personal situation in a one-to-one setting, they can never promise confidentiality since disclosures may have safeguarding implications. What teachers can do, however, is to listen sensitively and supportively while at the same time gathering the information they need to consider what to do next.
The advice in the downloadable guidance below is from pupils themselves, in their own words, together with some additional ideas to help you in initial conversations with pupils when they disclose mental health concerns. This advice should be considered alongside relevant school policies on pastoral care and child protection and discussed with relevant colleagues as appropriate.
Date uploaded: 23 Nov 2017
AttachmentsTalking to pupils when they make mental health disclosures FINAL.pdf
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At a glance:
Resource type(s)Guidance documents
Subject(s)Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
PSHE Guidance & Information
Safety (including Physical and Online Safety)
LevelsKey Stage 3
Key Stage 4
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