Pupil mental health survey


An Introduction to the survey

Mental wellbeing, one of the Scottish Government’s public health priorities is defined as:

 “…both feeling good and functioning effectively, maintaining positive relationships and living a life that has a sense of purpose. It is shaped by our life circumstances, our relationships and our ability to control or adapt to the adverse circumstances we face.”

Mental health is therefore more than the absence of mental illness but also feeling good and living well. 

This survey for pupils from P6 to S6 asks young people about different aspects of their mental health: (i) subjective wellbeing (ii)mental health problems and (iii) positive mental health. The survey also includes other key topics that we know are associated with good overall health and wellbeing, such as sleep and school engagement. 

There is evidence that all these different aspects of mental health and wellbeing contribute to how young people manage, feel and function in everyday life. The survey is about helping schools to understand how their pupils feel and developing and promoting good mental health.

What kind of information does the SHINE mental health and wellbeing data report show?

Why was the SHINE mental health survey developed?

SHINE schools identified mental health as a top health priority in the 2019 SHINE case studies. In response to feedback from SHINE schools who had received SHINE/HBSC reports, SHINE developed the SHINE online pupil mental health survey as a free and flexible resource for school members of the network. Teachers expressed their interest in using an evidence-based approach to improvement planning.

 The survey was used by over 245 SHINE schools, generating nearly 19,500 completed responses from young people in 2020-2021.

Who can use the SHINE mental health online pupil survey?

The SHINE mental health survey is a resource available for schools who have registered with the SHINE network. Membership of the network is free to schools – the registration form requires permission from the Headteacher and the contact details of a designated SHINE lead at the school.

The measures in the survey are validated for use with pupils from P6 to S6 and can be used annually as a tracking and monitoring tool.

 Information for parents and carers

A whole school approach

The SHINE team were delighted to see the SHINE online mental health survey included as a resource for additional assessment of pupil health and wellbeing in the recently published Scottish Government Framework document Whole School Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing – gov.scot (www.gov.scot).

Our survey data reports are designed to be shared with staff, young people, parents/carers and community partners to ensure that all stakeholders can be involved in the discussions about young people’s mental health and wellbeing as well as the decision-making process when it comes to improvement planning.

An evidence-based approach to supporting HWB improvements 
It is important for young people to understand the factors which influence their mental health and wellbeing so that they can seek help when required and know which positive choices can help to make a difference such as sleep, physical activity and a healthy diet.


"it is one of the best sources of baseline assessment that we have. The terminology and explanations in the preamble are easy to read and digest. I now have a clear list of areas for development to work through with staff and I am beginning to have a robust picture of our evolving health needs."
J Bell, Depute Headteacher
West Lothian

The survey and follow up report proved relevant, useful and certainly worthwhile in assessing the mental health of our pupils, perhaps even more so in the current climate.”

Primary school teacher