Healthy Minds, featuring .breathe, now available to all schools …

We are delighted that Healthy Minds, the PSHE curriculum for secondary schools which features the four .breathe lessons, is now available to all schools. Healthy Minds consists of resilience, mental health, social media and goal setting lessons, and provides training to deliver 61 lessons to support young peoples’ mental and emotional health. Read more from their CEO Lucy Bailey:

Research Project

More and more we worry about the mental health of young people. These are problems that can be influenced by schools because they make as much difference to emotional health and behaviour as to academic achievement.[1] This is explored in the biggest study of its kind, led by Bounce Forward, the London School of Economics and funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.

“Young people need Healthy Minds and schools should make it a top priority. It’s the most outstanding wellbeing curriculum in the world!”

(Lord Richard Layard, London School of Economics)

Changing Landscape

Good schools have explored ways to teach wellbeing and the importance of learning about mental health in schools is reinforced by the pending statutory requirement to teach Health Education and the new Ofsted’ framework that focuses on the importance of personal development (including resilience) within a curriculum that meets the needs of students.

The personal development judgement evaluates the school’s intent to provide for the personal development of all pupils, and the quality with which the school implements this work.

(School Inspection Handbook May 2019 No. 190017)

The Healthy Minds Curriculum

The most evidence-based wellbeing curriculum available to schools. The raw content was gathered from a project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, that searched internationally for the best well-tested materials. Bounce Forward then worked with Professor John Coleman, a leading expert on adolescent development, to develop a conceptual framework and looked to the PSHE Association Framework of 2012 to complete the full curriculum design.

The four-year Healthy Minds curriculum consists of 113 lessons for year 7-10 students. The thread that binds the teaching and learning is resilience skills that are taught explicitly through 26 individual lessons or implicitly through the teaching of other topics.

“I think you can see it in everything though. When I said it was a foundation of everything… you need to use resilience with School to Life, Media Influence, everything. You need to use it and if we don’t understand Penn Resilience, we’re not going to understand the rest of the course. It’s the thread that runs through it all.”

(Healthy Minds Student, Year 11) 

Healthy Minds is now available to all schools. Click here to learn more.

Teacher Training

The quality of teaching and learning is only achieved if teachers not only understand the content but has developed the skills themselves first. Healthy Minds teachers received 19 days of training that was staggered over the 4 years ahead of each element.

“If an adult is ‘consciously competent’ in their own resilience their ability to both model and teach the skills is greatly enhanced – a finding that has been replicated in all areas of Social and Emotional Learning.”[2]&[3]

(Emma Judge, Healthy Minds Lead Trainer)

Research Outcomes

Data was collected in year 7 as a baseline, in year 9 and again at the end of year 10. The results were measured against a control group of students who were the same, but taught PSHE ‘as usual’. The health and behaviour results show percentage gains across all outcomes. Academic outcomes will be published in September 2020.

Interesting Finding

At the mid-way point we see a negative effect on internalising behaviour (how young people are feeling inside) and this is interesting. Healthy Minds encourages young people to explore and understand positive and negative emotions as natural and not necessarily bad. So, students were more likely to recognise they were feeling sad, or anxious increases. What they did about it (externalising behaviour) is shown as having a positive effect at the mid-way point. This surely is what we want to encourage, young people recognising, not ignoring their negative emotions and behaving in a way that is helpful to them?

“Over the past 5 years Healthy Minds has really helped my year group understand each other’s feelings a lot better, it has helped us look at situations in-depth rather than just what they are on the surface.”

(Healthy Minds Student, Year 11)

[1] Clarke et al. (2018) Chapter 14.
[2] Brunwasser, S.M., J.E. Gillham, and K. E.S., A Meta-Analytic Review of the Penn Resiliency Programm’s Effect on Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2009. 77(6): p. 1042-1054.
[3] Durlak, J.A., et al., The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta €analysis of school‐based universal interventions. Child development, 2011. 82(1): p. 405-432.

To find out more

  • Get Healthy Minds for your school here.
  • Health Outcomes findings here.
  • Case Study Report here.

Author Bio

Lucy Bailey is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Bounce Forward. She is proud of her beginnings as a youth worker and her 17 years’ experience working in children’s services. Over the last twelve years, Lucy has focused on education and has been instrumental in embedding resilience curriculums in over 1,000 UK schools.