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.

An example figure from a SHINE mental health and wellbeing data report

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 230 SHINE schools, generating nearly 19,000 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.  

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 – (

An evidence-based approach to supporting HWB improvements 


"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