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Unit information: Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in Educational Contexts in 2021/22

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

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

Cannot be taken alongside EDUCM0061



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


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 details

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including lectures, reading and discussions.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment

Essay 4000-words (100%). 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.