The politics of mental wellbeing and education

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Social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) in schools has, over the past decade, emerged as part of a broader mental health agenda, shaped and driven through versions of childhood located in notions of neoliberal self-regulation and surveillance (Klein, 2016). My doctoral findings indicated the influence of national traditions and cross-societal inequities on the conceptualisation and discourse driving SEWB in England and Wales. Starting with the New Labour government, pursued through the Coalition government and now continuing in the Conservative administration, through moral and character education, there are clear inconsistencies and confusion about what is meant by mental health difficulties (MHDs) in the school policy arena. This ongoing conversation has recently resulted in a perceived children’s MHD crisis (The Guardian, October 3rd, 2016). Addressing how and why a MHD crisis has emerged in the public sphere, including the role of the media, and why this crisis has become the responsibility of schools, brings into focus the ways discourses of MHDs link to policy, practice and politics.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBritish Education Research Association (BERA)
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2017


  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Critical discourse analysis


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