Free resources to develop mental health literacy

Our educational approach

BrainWaves aims to equip young people to learn more about themselves using science-based tools for good mental health. We want to provide today’s teenagers with the information, tools and strategies they need to maintain good mental health and wellbeing. Based on robust evidence and the latest research, our educational materials are designed to help young people develop their critical thinking skills and provide practical strategies to help them thrive in a challenging world.

Our BrainWaves Lessons

In January 2023, Brainwaves is launching a multi-year school-based mental health initiative to improve mental health and wellbeing in young people

Free to all schools, this series of evidence-based lessons to support mental health literacy will initially be available for students in Year 12. In time, the series will be extended to include lessons for Key Stages 3 and 4. Following in depth focus groups and research, these lessons have been created with experts in their fields, based on topics that are relevant to young people.

Each BrainWaves lesson starts with a question designed to challenge young people to think critically about a range of mental health issues. The relationship between their thinking and real-life data is examined, helping young people to think independently about how they can reduce risk to themselves. Real-world scenarios and videos are used to present the most up-to-date science, as well as practical strategies to help young people cope better with the challenges of modern teenage life.

The Teenage Brain

What do we know?

This lesson will help young people understand the key areas and functions of the brain and how they change throughout the teenage years. The impact of these changes as well as hormones on teenagers’ behaviour and emotions will be discussed, as well as the positive changes that can occur at this time.

Mood and Depression

What’s not ok?

This lesson will discuss when moods become a concern and help young people understand how and when they should seek help. Focusing on practical strategies for helping yourself and others cope with low mood, this lesson emphasises the fact that ‘it’s ok not to be ok’.

Coping with Anxiety

This lesson will explore the protective factors that can help prevent anxiety and also promote strategies to help young people cope with anxious feelings and potential panic attacks. It will help young people understand the difference between everyday anxieties and when intervention is needed.

Teenagers and Sleep

Is it that important?

This lesson will help young people understand the differences in teenage sleep patterns and how a lack of sleep can impact their learning, behaviour and relationships. It will explore practical strategies that they can use to improve their sleep hygiene in the context of the teenage world.

Supporting Friends

What should I say?

This lesson will help young people recognise when friends are having mental health problems and know how to start a conversation to help. It will explore how they can listen, be sensitive to triggers and know when to get others involved, whilst making sure their own mental health isn’t affected.

Wellbeing and Resilience

Is it ok to fail?

This final lesson will help young people explore resilience and what it means to fail, as well as strategies for bouncing back when things go wrong. young people will be encouraged to pull together their own personal wellbeing plan from all the strategies discussed in the five previous lessons.

Teacher Resources

One of BrainWaves goals is to ensure teachers have the confidence and skills to teach lessons about mental health to teenagers. Our resources will include:

  • Clear and accessible lesson plans
  • A series of webinars to help teachers understand the scientific background and content of the lessons
  • Guidance and advice on sensitive issues around teaching mental health, such as how to have difficult conversations and how to avoid triggering young people.

School-Based Interventions

A key element of the BrainWaves programme is the trialling of school-based mental health interventions via a small number of pilot schools. Young people will take part in a carefully monitored and analysed programme of mental health and wellbeing activities and learn about the value of research. Teachers will be provided with in-depth support to help implement and manage the interventions. By taking part in the pilot, young people and schools will help shape the evidence-base behind these interventions and feedback into their future design in a very real way.

Get involved!