Book review : Mental Health Education: Building Good Foundations

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Author: S. Garner
Publisher: A Speechmark Book (Routledge)
ISBN: 978-1-138-38632-7
£24.99

The author is an education consultant and trainer who has also written a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) mental health programme used in schools worldwide. In this book, she sets out to look at what can be done environmentally to support good positive mental health and well-being, and, significantly, to ensure that mental harm is not caused for staff or pupils. For Garner, the terms ‘mental health’ and ‘well-being’ are interchangeable and she maintains that it is the ability ‘to be able to cope with the bad parts of life and enjoy the good parts.’ She explains briefly the core concepts of CBT that can be summarised as a process of changing thoughts and negative cognitive bias. She also provides a working example of CBT interventions to affect behaviour change. Chapters include: ‘Staff mental health and well-being’, ‘Pupil experience’, ‘Positive motivation’ and ‘Behaviour systems’.

This is a concise text that focuses on low cost and easy-to-implement strategies for use in the classroom, supported with downloadable activities and planning sheets based on cognitive behavioural therapy techniques.The final chapter is a very useful summary of the ideas in each chapter, presented as a handy checklist. 

Given the current heightened awareness of mental issues and well-being, this is a timely publication that is based on the author’s extensive training, research and experience in this field. Its style is accessible and she aims to empower individual teachers to ‘make a difference’ whilst also looking after themselves.

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