Special Issue "Supporting Wellbeing in Schools in the Post-pandemic Era"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Education and Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2023 | Viewed by 1005

Special Issue Editor

The Graduate School of Education, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Interests: youth mental health; educator wellbeing; school wellbeing; wellbeing in schools; systems approaches to wellbeing; motivation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research over the past ten years suggests that young people are experiencing unprecedented levels of disengagement, disconnect and distress across the developed world. For example, Lawrence and colleagues suggested that 13.9% of Australian children and young people (aged 4 to 17 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder each year (Lawrence et al., 2015).  More recent Australian data suggest that almost two in five people (39.6%) aged between 16 and 24 years had a long-term mental disorder in 2020-21 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020-21).

Programs and interventions aiming to support mental health and wellbeing in schools have largely maintained a key focus on the following three areas over the past 15 years:

  • Whole-school wellbeing approaches that aim to instill a broad range of mental health and wellbeing knowledge and skills across whole-school populations;
  • Systems level initiatives that aim to improve student mental health and wellbeing with a focus on school systemic change and improvement;
  • Focused initiatives which aim to foster young people’s understanding and enactment of a specific idea, behaviour or overall strategy associated with improved mental health and wellbeing.

Despite early optimism, ongoing research has produced mixed support for all of the above approaches for improving school-based wellbeing and engagement and decreasing school-based poor mental health and disconnect (e.g., Street, 2017).  Overall, it is proposed that whole-school approaches to support wellbeing, along with pro-active systemic change, produce the most effective outcomes. However, early findings suggest that the support for whole-school wellbeing approaches is, at best, mixed (e.g., Weare & Nind, 2011). In 2022, as we emerge from the pandemic, the high incidence of educator stress and overwhelm exacerbates attempts to better support young people and adds another layer to the consideration of how best to move forward. Furthermore, it is proposed that pressure to create positive change quickly, combined with a reluctance to challenge deeply ingrained social norms, contributes to a reluctance to enact long-term systemic change.

This themed issue of Education Sciences seeks articles that explore how we might better support improved mental health and wellbeing in schools, and how we might better encourage relevant stakeholders to adopt effective systemic development as we enter a post-pandemic era in history.

Topics that contributors may consider include, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • What types of mental health and wellbeing interventions are proving to be most/least effective in schools as we move out of the pandemic?
  • What has the pandemic taught us about the implementation of mental health support in schools, and how best to move forward?
  • How has systemic change and development in schools impacted student mental health and wellbeing in recent times?
  • How has systemic change developed in response to the pandemic, and how have these changes informed our understanding of the interaction between school contexts and wellbeing?


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2020-21). National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/mental-health/national-study-mental-health-and-wellbeing/2020-21.

Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

Street, Helen (2017) Measures of success: Exploring the importance of context in the delivery of wellbeing and social and emotional learning programs in Australian primary and secondary schools in Frydenberg, E. Martin, A.J. and Collie R.J. (Eds) Social and Emotional Learning in Australia and the Asia Pacific. Springer Science and Business, Singapore.

Weare, K. & Nind, M. (2011) Mental health promotion and problem prevention in schools: What does the evidence say? Health Promotion International, 26(S1).

Dr. Helen Street
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • youth mental health
  • school mental health
  • school engagement
  • wellbeing programs
  • post-pandemic wellbeing support
  • school systems development

Published Papers (1 paper)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:


ASPIRE to a Better Future: The Impact of the Pandemic on Young People, and Options for Schools Post-COVID-19
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060623 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 681
Young people have, in effect, had two years of normality taken from their lives by the pandemic—and for many this has occurred at a crucial time of development. Using the ASPIRE framework of Agency, Safety, Positivity, Inclusion, Respect, and Equity, this paper explores [...] Read more.
Young people have, in effect, had two years of normality taken from their lives by the pandemic—and for many this has occurred at a crucial time of development. Using the ASPIRE framework of Agency, Safety, Positivity, Inclusion, Respect, and Equity, this paper explores what has happened to adolescents in the UK and elsewhere, the impact this may have had on identity formation and establishing a meaningful sense of self, feelings of belonging and safety, mental health, hope for the future, and relationships. Students already facing disadvantages and adversity have been particularly hard hit. School attendance levels are falling, giving rise to further concerns about wellbeing. Referring to each principle, we discuss the options for responding in ways that support a more positive future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supporting Wellbeing in Schools in the Post-pandemic Era)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Planned paper for special issue “Supporting Wellbeing in Schools in the Post-pandemic Era”
Authors: Ane Qvortrup; Eva Lykkegaard; Casper Juul Dahl Jensen
Affiliation: University of Southern Denmark
Abstract: As part of the largescale ‘COVID-19, Building Back Better’-project, longitudinal student survey data were collected (N=774) from four subsequent rounds (grade 3-9) in a period with COVID-19 related school closures and re-openings (December 2020 to June 2022). We investigate and discuss fluctuations in these Danish students’ well-being. As a response to previous studies suggesting that wellbeing in educational contexts is not only about feeling satisfied and happy, but also developing as a person, being fulfilled, and making a contribution to the community, we differentiate between three well-being dimensions: social, emotional, and academic wellbeing. The article finds that all three wellbeing dimensions show a decrease during the data collection period (in the aftermath of the first Danish COVID-19 outbreak), this decrease is highest for academic well-being and lowest for social well-being. Using Latent State-Trait analysis, we show that not only the size but also the determinant effects of the decreases in the differentiated well-being dimensions differs. The decrease in academic well-being is more trait-like (a stable person-dependent effect), whereas the social well-being is more state-like (context-dependent effect) and the decrease in emotional well-being is somewhere in between (person/context interactional effect). The article discusses how schools can support students’ well-being in the post-pandemic era if well-being dimensions are dependent on state, trade, and/or grade.

Back to TopTop