The nature vs nurture debate in mental health and behaviour refers to the extent to which genetics (nature) and environmental factors (nurture) influence the development of mental health conditions and behaviours. Both genetics and environment play a role in shaping mental health and behaviour, but the exact extent of each factor is still not fully understood.

A DfE report on mental health and behaviour cited 4 sets of risk factors that are believed to be associated within:

  1. The child themselves
  2. The family
  3. The community
  4. Schools themselves

Fintan O’Regan, Behaviour and SEN Consultant, joins Dale in this week’s podcast to discuss ‘Mental Health and Behaviour: Nature or Nurture? Risk and Resilience’. In this episode we consider the complex nature vs nurture debate, and risk and resilience factors to offset and support children and families.

Find out from Fintan how both genetics and environment play important roles in shaping mental health outcomes.

About Fintan O’Regan MA, PGCE BSc 

He was the Head teacher of the Centre Academy from 1996 -2002, which was the first specialist school in the UK for students between the ages of 7-19 specialising issues related to ADHD, ASD and ODD.    

He is an associate lecturer for Leicester University, the National Association of Special Needs, the Institute of Education, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre and the former Vice Chairman of the UK ADHD Network and of the European ADHD Alliance.  

Fintan now works as trainer and consultant for schools and school support systems including, Social Services, Health, the Police and Foster carers   with regards to providing behaviour management strategies for children and families struggling with SEND and behaviour issues. 

Contact Fintan


Useful Links

Behaviour and Mental Health: a new approach.  

O’Regan F (2005) Surviving and Succeeding in SEN Continuum International  

O’Regan F (2006) Challenging Behaviours Teachers Pocketbooks 

O’Regan F (2006) Troubleshooting Challenging Behaviours Continuum International  

O’Regan F (2018) Successfully Managing Children ADHD Second edition :Routledge Falmer Press 

O’Regan F (2020) Supporting behaviour in the classroom: Sage publications limited  

MH and Behaviour in schools 2018. Available at : 

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