Mentally Well Schools began as a collaborative initiative by a primary school SENDCo with expertise in mental health and a Psychotherapist specialising in adolescent and adult mental health.
Our Mission & Ethos
We share a vision of improved mental health and life outcomes for children, adolescents and school staff. We offer a growing library of evidence-based resources and expert guidance for busy schools, designed to equip students and staff with proven skills to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Our materials are skills-based and incorporate elements of Mindfulness, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).
Meet the team:
Ava Shabnum Hasan (founder)
After completing a BSc from the London School of Economics in 1998, I soon decided to change career path and embarked on a PGCE. I qualified as a primary school teacher from Hertfordshire University in 2001. I have since worked across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in several state and independent schools in the UK and internationally, including a preparatory feeder school for Harrow School in England and Harrow International School Bangkok.
As a teacher for 19 years, and a SENDCo and member of Senior Leadership in two successive primary schools, one in the state sector and one independent, I am well aware of the crisis in our education system. I feel passionately about helping young people and adults with their mental and emotional health, not least because I have experienced mental health issues myself and know firsthand the pain and suffering that untreated wounds of the psyche can cause. I decided to create this site to support and advocate for child, adolescent and teacher mental health.
Relevant Training and Experience around Mental Health and Wellbeing:
- Introduction to Individual and Social Psychology 1 year module as part of BSc degree: London School of Economics and Political Science
- ‘Toxic Childhood’ training: Led by Sue Palmer, based on her critically acclaimed book
- ‘Leading from the Middle’ 1 year programme: National College of School Leadership, London
- 3 day Vipassana silent meditation retreat: House of Dhamma and The Young Buddhists Association of Thailand
- Psychosynthesis “Heart & Soul” 1 day training: Re-Vision Centre for Integrative Psychosynthesis, London
- 5 week psycho-spiritual retreat: Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, Peru
- 10 day Vipassana silent meditation retreat: Dhamma Society, Bogota, Colombia
- Psychosynthesis “Transitions” 4 day intensive training: Re-Vision Centre for Integrative Psychosynthesis, London
- “The Dynamics of Suicide” Professional Development training: Dr Robert Hale, The Minster Centre, London
- Designated Safeguarding Lead training: Islington Local Education Authority, London
- Trauma and Attachment difficulties: PAC-UK (Adoption Support Agency)
- Attachment difficulties, ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Condition: Dr Jennifer Nock, London
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy 1 year intensive skills training: Mind Reframed, London
- Coaching Fundamentals 1 day training: Pedagogue Professional Development, Bangkok
Darryl is a Consultant Psychotherapist based in London. He is an accredited Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) practitioner. He was one of the first DBT therapists in the UK, and trained both with the prestigious Linehan Institute in the USA and British Isles DBT in the UK. Darryl also received expert supervision from both Dr Heidi Heard and Dr Melanie Harned who are leading and world-renowned clinicians in the fields of childhood and adolescent trauma, and DBT.
Darryl has a thriving private practice in London and provides supervision for the UK’s leading private addictions service and for two NHS Trusts. He also supervises therapists and psychologists in both the adult and adolescent DBT teams at the Priory Hospitals in and around London. In addition, Darryl is Head of Suicide Prevention at Body and Soul, an award-winning UK charity.
In 2018, Darryl travelled to the USA to build upon his existing expertise in adolescent mental health, and qualified as one of the first UK therapists trained to deliver “Skills Training for Emotional Problem-Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A)” to school teachers here in the UK.
Darryl has trained extensively in the areas of adolescent mental health presentations, eating disorders, social anxiety, treating shame, disgust and self-criticism. His special interests include suicidal and self-harming behaviours in adolescents and adults, treating anxiety and depression, eating problems, addictions and complex PTSD.
In the past, Darryl worked for over 17 years in both the NHS and social services, much of this time in a specialist personality disorder service where he was authorised by the Secretary of State to undertake complex assessments under the Mental Health Act.
Some of Darryl’s post-qualifying training has included:
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: Darryl’s core DBT training was with the Linehan Institute Behavioral Tech in 2008. It was followed by continuous professional development, weekly team consultation and advanced DBT training.
- Narrative Exposure Therapy for Trauma: Vivo International and Institute for Psychotrauma, London
- DBT Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Dr Melanie Harned, The Linehan Institute
- Basics and Principles of DBT-PTSD: an Evidence-Based Treatment for Complex PTSD after Childhood Sexual Abuse: Professor Martin Bohus and Tamar Neubauer
- DBT Skills in Schools: Skills Training for Emotional Problem-Solving for Adolescents (DBT STEPS-A)
- Understanding Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Professor Sue Clark, Bournemouth University
- Foundational Training in the Theory and Practice of Compassion Focused Therapy: Professor Paul Gilbert, The Compassionate Mind Foundation
Jack works with Mentally Well Schools as a Forum Moderator, Online Facilitator and Blog Editor. He also advises on strategic and editorial matters.
Jack has a first class degree in English with Education (Sussex, 1984). Following a career in university management and in consultancy, Jack is now focusing on work related to wellbeing and on his writing.
He has a long-standing interest in mental health, and recently created a staff mental health strategy and set up a staff mental health support network for a higher education institution in England.
Jack has completed Oxford Mindfulness Centre training, the four modules of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Training, Mental Health First Aider training, as well as his Samaritans training.
He is a trained mental health first aider and a Samaritans Listener, and has recently taken up the role of Samaritans Regional Education Officer for Wales.