The mental health lead
The government announced that, from 2019, hundreds of mental health leads will be working in schools and colleges with the aim of reducing the waiting times for access to CAMHS and developing a whole-school approach towards supporting positive mental wellbeing for pupils and staff in their school. The goal is for every school and college to have a mental health lead by 2025.
This article includes a list of interview questions and a collection of tasks that will aid schools in their recruitment process for a mental health lead.
- Can you tell me about yourself and highlight how you think your qualities suit the role of a mental health lead?
- What do you know about safeguarding in terms of supporting mental health and wellbeing?
- Can you tell me about a time you have worked well under pressure?
- What decisions led you to pursue a career as a mental health lead?
- Can you tell me about a time when you applied new technology to your practices, and did they benefit you?
- Explain a time when you had to present to a group. What was the situation and was it successful?
- Tell me about a time when you had to gather information from a variety of sources. How did you determine what information was accurate and relevant?
- Tell me about a time you had to demonstrate excellent listening skills.
- What do you think the demands of this position will be? Tell me about how you would successfully meet the demands of the responsibilities associated with this role.
Oversight of mental health support
- What does the phrase ‘whole-school approach towards mental health’ mean to you?
- Can you tell me about a time when you made a suggestion to your superior that benefited the school’s mental health procedures?
- How would you collect and analyse mental health data to review the effectiveness of the school’s practices?
- How would you use information to help you make decisions regarding a pupil’s mental health difficulties?
- Can you tell me about a time you monitored and reviewed information to detect a problem and how you then resolved it?
- How would you provide a supportive and positive working environment to support staff wellbeing?
- Name a time when you identified strengths and weaknesses in a procedure. How did you amend the procedure to improve upon any weaknesses?
- Advances in technology and social media has meant that mental health issues are constantly changing. Provide an example of a time you had to work in a rapidly evolving workplace and how you dealt with those changes.
- How would you ensure that the school remains compliant with the laws, regulations and standards applicable to this role?
- Describe a situation where you had to work with a large amount of data. How did you handle this?
- How would you support teaching staff in their responsibility to ensure pupils achieve their potential by providing safe and supportive learning environments?
Provide support to pupils
- What do you consider the biggest mental health issues facing young people are today?
- How would you support a pupil who was experiencing anxiety? How about bulimia?
- How would you raise awareness amongst pupils of positive mental health?
- Tell me about a time you provided care to a pupil dealing with an emotional problem, such as grief.
- Tell me about a time you provided mental health care to a pupil with SEND.
- Provide an example of a time you were sensitive to the needs of a pupil. How did you adjust your approach to meet their needs?
- When providing support to a pupil, has your patience ever been tested? What do you do to manage this?
- Have you received any training for administering medication?
- Have you ever had to administer any kind of medication to a pupil in distress? Tell me about this.
- Tell me about a time where your support helped a pupil develop work skills, social skills or emotional stability.
- Share a method which you have found to be effective in influencing a pupil’s behaviour – such as through communication, teaching or counselling.
- When do you consider the use of reasonable force to be necessary?
- Describe a situation in which you successfully identified the mental health needs of a child and developed a way to assist them.
- Are you aware of the support services that are available to children?
- Would you feel confident in making a referral to a support service, i.e. trusting your judgment that the situation requires referring?
- Are you confident in your judgement of when a situation does not need to be referred?
Offer advice for staff
- How would you raise awareness of mental health wellbeing amongst staff?
- How would you support staff with mental health problems?
- How would you help staff support pupils who were having problems with their mental health?
- Describe a time when you successfully aided a co-worker with a mental health concern regarding a pupil.
- Can you describe a time that you had to communicate particularly difficult or complicated information to a colleague?
- Do you have any experience of monitoring the work of others? Can you tell me about your experience?
- Can you tell me about a time you coordinated with others that wasn’t successful? What did you learn from that experience?
- Can you tell me about a time when working with others benefited what you were working on?
- Can you tell me how you balance cooperation with others and independent judgement?
- Can you tell me about a time when you offered advice that was of great benefit to the situation?
- Please tell me about a time you have been a mentor or coach to someone.
- Have you got experience of organising a diverse group of people to accomplish a task? How did you find it?
- Tell me about the last time you oversaw the work of someone – what did you do to motivate, develop and guide them?
- Tell me about a time you have set expectations and monitored their progress.
- In your opinion, what is the key to good communication with regards to aiding colleagues?
- Describe a situation where your leadership helped meet the needs of a pupil.
- In your opinion, what is the key to success when communicating to the public?
- From your experience, what is key to developing an effective team?
- Explain a time where your diligence of inspecting equipment, structures, or materials helped you identify a problem and resolve it.
- Tell me about a time when you developed your own way of accomplishing a task.
- Give me an example of when you had to think outside the box.
- Share an experience where you used new skills, ideas, or methods to adapt a situation or improve an ongoing one.
- What were some of your long-term goals from your previous job and how did you achieve these?
- What do you consider as your weaknesses? How do you intend to strengthen these?
- What CPD opportunities would you be keen to take if you were successful in your application?
Presentation to staff on spotting the signs of mental health problems
Teaching staff feel that training would greatly benefit early intervention in spotting mental health issues. You are asked by senior management to create and deliver a presentation to inform staff of the signs to look out for and what to do with a concern.
Please spend the next 10 minutes developing a presentation on what you would include. Outline the sections that you would cover and a brief explanation of what would be included in each of these sections. Include any other considerations that you would make, for example any case studies or previous experience that you would draw upon.
Social media workshop
Social media is used by the vast majority of young people today, and there is much discussion surrounding the impacts it has on mental health. The school wants to deliver a workshop session on social media – to include conduct, staying safe online, bullying and mental health. You are asked to produce materials that can be used for the mental health segment of the session.
Please spend the next 15 minutes planning how you would address the mental health segment and what you would include.
Mental health is something that society is becoming ever more aware of and the school would like to include it more within the curriculum.
Spend the next 10 minutes establishing a plan for how mental health can be taught within three different subjects of your choice. You can choose any aspects of mental health, e.g. promoting good mental health or signs that someone is struggling with mental health. You should outline the cross-curricular links and explain the decisions that you have made.
Department of Health and Social Care and DfE (2018) ‘Government Response to the Consultation on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: a Green Paper and Next Steps’
Job Interview Questions (2018) ‘Mental Health Worker Interview Questions’ <https://www.jobinterviewquestions.com/psych-tech/mental-health-worker> [Accessed: 21 September 2018]