Researching education & mental health: From ‘Where are we now?’ to ‘What next?’

The mental health and wellbeing of learners and teaching staff rank among some of the most pressing issues facing education in the coming decade. Even before the Covid-19 crisis hit, there was widespread concern about growing rates of emotional distress among school-aged children, the impact of relentless workloads on teacher wellbeing, and the seismic effects of acute low-level funding and childhood poverty.

These were some of the critical areas found to be in urgent need of further research at the BERA Mental Health, Wellbeing and Education special interest group’s inaugural conference. That event brought together researchers, academics and practitioners from a diverse range of contexts, from early years to higher education, to discuss worries, consider practical solutions and set a dynamic research agenda for the future.

This BERA Bites paper presents a collection of articles that arose from this conference and were first presented as a special issue of the BERA Blog. Now expanded and updated to include questions for discussion, this issue features groundbreaking, innovative projects that support mental health and wellbeing in education, and showcases some of the latest and best research in the field. 

As we continue to both endure and plan our recovery from the global pandemic, the urgency of the issues highlighted in this collection has never resonated more profoundly.