Book: Mental Health Matters by Paula Nagel

A practical guide to identifying and understanding mental health issues in primary schools

Mental Health Matters








Practical Ideas





  • Real-life case studies.
  • Practical structure to follow if concerned about individuals.
  • Supports early responses to Mental Health issues.
  • Considers the whole child.
  • Relevant for all primary schools.

Published 8th September 2016

There’s an elephant in the room, as we say here in the UK. A subject so big and obvious that people go through life avoiding confronting the issue, but happily ignore or skirt around the issue as though it’s not there. Mental Health. Fortunately, society is now starting to recognise destructive nature of addressing mental health issues, and schools are very well placed to support individuals who are struggling to cope with the pressures of daily life. Let’s be clear, mental health issues affect both genders; affect people from all walks of life; and can manifest in many different ways – so how an schools identify and support pupils displaying mental health difficulties?

Teachers are not psychologists, but what the profession has in abundance of professionals who care for, and want the best for, their pupils – this goes beyond academic achievements. Knowing what to do for the best can be a challenge, and this is where this Mental Health Matters book by Paula Nagel can be incorporated into school life to ensure the best well-being actions for pupils.

Paula has developed a 5-step framework which asks the following critical questions when assessing the mental health issues of a child:

  1. What can we see?
  2. What have we tried?
  3. What do we know?
  4. What is the mental health message?
  5. What would personalised planning look like for this child?

Around this, the book asks key questions in helping to support a positive and supportive outcome for individuals, along with case-studies and considering the whole child in a fascinating insight aimed at raising awareness of issues which are evident in all schools. This book is useful for all primary teachers, whether NQT’s or experienced teachers, and those who see the pastoral role of their job as a critical element in supporting students.

What the publishers say:

Current statistics show a significant rise in mental health difficulties in children and young people, and new legislation urges schools to consider whether continuing disruptive behaviour might be the result of an unmet need. Using real life case studies, this book supports all teachers and school staff in understanding and identifying the early signs of mental health difficulties, and explains how to bring about appropriate early interventions.

About the author…

Paula Nagel began her career in education as a primary school teacher with responsibility for personal, social and emotional curriculum development, before qualifying as an Educational Psychologist.

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