Dedicated to improving mental health in schools

How does it work?

The Peer Education Project (PEP) is a secondary school-based, educational programme that aims to give young people the knowledge and understanding they need to safeguard their mental health, and that of their peers.

PEP offers an interactive five lesson mental health syllabus, covering basic mental health awareness, risk and protective factors for our mental health, ways to stay well, the importance of seeking help and how to support others. The lessons are offered to Peer Learners (Year 7 or S1 pupils), with each pupil receiving their own printed workbook to complete.

The syllabus is delivered by Peer Educators (older pupils), who are trained and supported by the school staff leading the project. Each Peer Educator will receive a printed handbook alongside the lesson slides.

Inspired by the idea that a key source of support to young people is their peer group within the school environment, PEP has shown promising improvements in the knowledge and attitudes of participating pupils since 2015.

Watch our video to find out how it’s working in schools so far and read feedback via the ‘What People Say’ section at the top of this page.


For our £100+VAT Lifetime Digital Access License fee, you will receive:

Lifetime access to the online PEP platform

•             Staff Project Guidance

(including Peer Educator Training Guidance and Scheduling Plan)

•             Staff Training Videos

•             Digital versions of the Peer Educator Handbook and Peer Learner Workbook

(for reference only)

•             Lesson plans and PowerPoint slides

•             All the resources needed to deliver the lessons, as well as information and tools for 'Continuing the Conversation' about mental health in your school

Ongoing support from our Project Team

•             One-to-one tailored support from the Peer Education Project team at any time via email or phone

•             Monthly newsletters

Opportunities for both Staff and Pupils

•             Co-production opportunities for developing new resources and updating existing resources

•             Peer Educators will have an opportunity to apply for work experience placements with the Mental Health Foundation

The programme has been designed and evaluated to run with printed materials for Peer Educators and Peer Learners. Please click 'Register Today' to explore our printed payment options.

The lesson plans do include suggested adaptations for implementation without the use of printed materials.




“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!

Register Today
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 PEP?


We believe that there is a basic level of knowledge and skill that everyone needs around their own mental health. By teaching every pupil about mental health, we hope that they will be equipped to meet the challenges they and their friends will encounter in life.

Embedding this crucial mental health knowledge within the curriculum can support a whole-school approach to positive mental health and wellbeing, as well as directly creating a learning opportunity for senior pupils.

Why teach about mental health?

The need for good mental health education early in life is clear. We know that in the UK, it is estimated that:

  • 2 in 3 of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives.
  • About 1 in 6 people experienced a common mental health problem in a given week. 

Amongst children and young people:

  • 50% of adult mental health problems begin by the age of 14
  • 1 in 8 (aged 5-19) have a diagnosable mental health condition

As part of our Make it Count campaign in 2018, our research found:

With pupils spending more than 30 hours a week at school, it provides a key opportunity for them to learn and develop 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. Classroom-based projects offer the opportunity to reach all pupils, not just those identified as most at risk.

Why Peer Education?

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 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?

Our 2018/19 evaluation found that by the end of the project:

  • 95% of students reported that they “know what mental health means”
  • 84% said that they know how to keep well mentally
  • 48% reported that they “know what stigma means” – up from only 13% at the start of the project
  • 72% of students said that they would “definitely” recommend that others take part, with a further 24% saying that they would “maybe” recommend it 
  • 66% said it was “very helpful” to learn from Peer Educators rather than their usual teacher

“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!

Register Today

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”

- Peer Learner

Register today to introduce PEP into your school!

Register Today

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.

  • School Location
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All information is held securely in accordance with the Mental Health Foundation’s Data Protection Policies.