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Call for action on mental health in schools after BISSR Research

New research highlights the current issues facing Scottish schools and demonstrates the need for effective mental health support for pupils and teachers.
Bloom workshop

The research was recently published by the Scottish Centre for Social Research, who were commissioned by the Scottish Government to conduct a fifth wave of the Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research (BISSR), first undertaken in 2006.

The research found that there has been a perceived decline in pupil behaviour since 2016, and in primary and secondary schools, abuse between pupils and physical destructiveness have also all increased.

The factors cited in the research as the root causes of disruptive behaviour, such as poverty and deprivation, as well as challenges associated with home life, such as trauma, only underline the need for schools to properly invest in appropriate mental health training for pupils and teachers.

Interviewees highlighted the negative impact of incidents of pupil violence and aggression on the mental health of other pupils, as well as having a ‘profound impact’ on teachers.

Commenting on the research, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Jenny Gilruth, said:

“Action for Children reported earlier this month that, as the cost of living crisis has deepened, more children are going to school hungry. More of our young people are anxious or stressed, and they bring that with them to school.”

Furthermore, the Cabinet Secretary added: “The research shows that many of our children are struggling, which is particularly true of those who missed out on transitions from early years to primary or from primary to secondary”

Evidence shows that providing good, early preventative support in the right place at the right time can help to avoid deterioration in young people’s mental health, and equip them for the challenges of everyday life. It is clear from this research that there is further work to be done to address societal factors affecting mental health in Scottish schools.

Our young people’s programme, Bloom, is the largest free UK-wide programme for 14–18-year-olds which focuses on supporting young people’s mental health resilience. Delivered in schools and colleges, Bloom trains teachers and equips young people with the tools and knowledge to maintain their mental health.

As part of these programmes, we have supported 5,097 young people in Scotland so far. Following these tailored courses, 86% of respondents felt more confident in understanding and maintaining their mental health.

Our Bloom Programme also encourages positive interpersonal relationships between young people and the teachers who support them. Through building young people’s resilience, we can reduce long-term risk factors around behaviour, such as expulsion or exclusion.

As well as young people, we also support teachers through our Bloom on Clic platform, which provides a safe space for teachers and educators to take part in our mental health training, access the Bloom resources and receive mental health support through our quick chat and community forums.

Service Manager for Bloom & Your Resilience Hannah Dibnah said:

Early intervention is essential to reducing bad behaviour in schools – addressing the root causes of behavioural issues and developing young people’s resilience through emotional and social learning. Through Bloom, we aim to support a whole school approach to wellbeing, which involves supporting teachers as well as equipping young people with resilience tools and coping strategies

As an organisation providing mental health training in schools across Scotland, Change Mental Health is prepared to play our part to provide teachers and young people with the necessary support and development.


Need further support? Want to talk to other teachers? Our Bloom on Clic platform provides a safe space for teachers and educators to take part in our mental health training, access all of our Bloom resources and get mental health support for yourselves through our quick chat and community forums.

If you need further information about Bloom or want to enquire about online training, resources or how we can help your school or college, contact the Bloom team.

Do you have any more questions about the support Change Mental Health delivers across communities in Scotland? Contact our  Advice and Support Service.

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