Dedicated to improving mental health in schools

How does it work?

The Peer Education Project (PEP) is a school-based programme that aims to give young people the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard their mental health, and that of their peers. PEP offers an interactive five session mental health syllabus to Year 7 pupils, supported by a workbook. The syllabus is delivered by Peer Educators, who are trained and supported by school staff.

The project aims to give Year 7 pupils the skills and knowledge they need to sustain and protect their own mental health and that of their friends. The five sessions cover basic mental health awareness, stigma and discrimination, staying well, seeking help and supporting friends. Since the programme started in 2015, it has shown promising improvements in the knowledge, skills and attitudes of participating students.

Watch our video to find out how it’s working in schools so far…

“I realised after doing these sessions that I didn’t know much about mental health. It really helped me personally, and it was rewarding – and fun.”

- Peer Educator

Register today to introduce PEP into your school!

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Duke of Edinburg Lisenced

The Mental Health Foundation is licensed as an Approved Activity Provider by The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for the Volunteering section. Peer Educators can achieve the Bronze DofE Award for their role in the Peer Education Project.

Why is this needed?

The need for good mental health education early in life is clear. We know that:

A young person’s time in secondary school is a key opportunity to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and attitudes they will need to preserve their own mental health, as well as that of their friends, and seek help when needed.

Why Peer Education?

Studies of peer-delivered health education suggest that peer educators can be effective because:

  • young people find them to be more credible sources of information than adult educators, presenting information in ways that are both clear and relevant
  • young people may feel more comfortable asking questions of peer educators
  • peer-delivered programmes can build on existing role-modelling and mentoring
  • peer education uses existing social networks to influence change, sustaining impact beyond the educational sessions themselves

Studies also suggest that there are also a number of benefits for the peer educators themselves, including:

  • the development of important public speaking and facilitation skills
  • improving their own self-confidence and esteem
  • improved knowledge about the topic at hand
  • recognition by their peers as leaders.
How well does it work?

Brief Feedback on the Project

  • Almost 9 out of 10 students would recommend the course to others
  • 63% of Y7s found it ‘very helpful’ to learn about mental health from a peer educator rather than their usual teacher

Benefits for Students

An external evaluation by the Anna Freud Centre’s showed a decrease in emotional difficulties for Year 7 students. For students who experienced mental health difficulties, 40% saw improvement with behavioural issues and 38% saw improvement with emotional issues.

PEP achieved improved outcomes in:

  • knowing what mental health is: 82% → 91%  
  • knowing what stigma is: 18% → 63%  
  • knowing how to keep well mentally: 69% → 84%  
  • confidence in helping a friend with their mental health: 73% → 86%

Benefits for Peer Educators

Peer Educators saw additional benefits from taking part in the project. By the end of the project,

  • 91% of Peer Educators said they felt they could “talk openly about their mental health”
  • 89% of Peer Educators said they “know when to ask for help with their mental health”

“The students enjoyed being taught by 6th formers and it was a relaxed, fun and positive way to introduce the concept of mental health”

- Teacher

Register today to introduce PEP into your school!

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Easy online access to everything you need

The PEP platform is designed to be a one-stop shop for the Peer Education Project. Register today to access the resources you will need to introduce mental health into your school curriculum.

“I think it was easier that they were close to our age – they understood our feelings a bit more”

- Year 7 Student

Register today to introduce PEP into your school!

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All materials and resources within the Peer Education Project (PEP) are the Intellectual Property of the Mental Health Foundation.

The Mental Health Foundation’s intellectual property (PEP) is licensed to schools on an annual basis. Annual licensing permits secondary schools access to, and distribution of ,PEP materials to relevant student cohorts (one year group per year as Peer Learners; one cohort per year as Peer Educators), as prescribed by the project delivery model.

The PEP materials must be used in full as provided by the Mental Health Foundation and must not be altered or provided partially, without the express permission of the Mental Health Foundation.

Not sure if PEP is right for your school? Contact us today

Our team are here to advise and answer any questions you might have about the Peer Education Project.

For any queries simply fill in the form below and we will be in touch soon.

  • By submitting your contact information, you are consenting to your information being held by the Mental Health Foundation. We will contact you about the Peer Education project and our work with children and young people.
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All information is held securely in accordance with the Mental Health Foundation’s Data Protection Policies.