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Karen Leeves

I am studying Public Mental Health MSc part time at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and I have an interest in children and young people’s mental health. I currently work for my local authority where I work with schools to incorporate a whole school approach to mental health. Part of this role involves me delivering evidence-based mental health training to school staff and parents/carers. I also work directly with selected CYP to train them to become Mental Health Champions in their school. Studying Public Mental Health at QMUL will allow me to further develop my career in this field. 

Award Title: Master Scholars

Start Date: September 2022

End Date: August 2024

Location of Research: Thurrock

Project title: MSc Public Mental Health (Queen Mary University of London)

Brief Summary: As I am a part time student, I will be doing my dissertation next academic year. I am hoping to explore the role of trained Senior Mental Health Leads (SMHLs) in Thurrock and their experiences of developing a whole school approach to mental health. This research idea is in response to the “Transforming Children and Young People’s mental health provision: A Green Paper and Next steps” (2017), where the Department of Health and Department for Education is aiming for a Designated SMHL in every school by 2025. 

Methods: Proposed Phenomenological approach to collect primary data using semi-structure interviews and questionnaires. All SMHLs in Thurrock will be invited to participate. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with SMHLs and questionnaires with parents and school staff to explore their views, perspectives, and opinions of a whole school approach to mental health. 

Benefits anticipated: My project proposal will contribute to existing research on a whole school approach to mental health and will develop an understanding the experiences of a SMHL, which is a role in its infancy. This research will allow exploration of how schools have incorporated a whole school approach, some of the barriers they may face and the impact of the training. This will be beneficial for Thurrock as a locality, as identified areas can be targeted for future training.