A trailblazer to improve mental health provision in schools
This World Mental Health Day, we turn our spotlight on the exciting trailblazer project currently underway in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea to bring children and young people (aged 5-25 years) who attend local schools access to strengthened support for their low and moderate mental health needs
The project, delivered in partnership with both Central and West London Clinical Commissioning Groups and the charity Mind, will see new Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) trained and placed in schools where they will help to identify the signs of mental health difficulties and provide evidence-based interventions. The EMHPs will also be supported by an all new team of expert Wellbeing Facilitators, Family Support Workers and Psychologists working alongside them.
The project comes at a time of increasing mental health need among children and young people. The most recent data suggests that around 3 children in every class of 30 will have a diagnosable mental health condition. The new service offers an opportunity to reach children and young people, from as young as 5 years old, who would not ordinarily meet the criteria for specialist mental health support. The types of needs the new team will be able to support with include:
- low mood / motivation
- mild / moderate anxiety
- common challenging behaviours
- family relationships
- difficulties adjusting to change
- difficulties regulating emotions
There will be a focus on working with schools and families to help identify needs early and to prevent low and moderate mental health problems from progressing further. This will be achieved through a combination of signposting and linking services, individual face-to-face therapies and group work interventions.
Roll-out of the programme is due to progress gradually over the next year with the first round of schools expected to have EMHPs in place by the end of this month.
We anticipate that this extra level of support in schools will lead to improvements in the mental health and wellbeing of all children and young people and benefit their learning and development.
This innovative development is part of the national Trailblazers programme and was supported by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health green paper. To find out more about the national programme you can visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/cyp/trailblazers/
The images used in this article were provided courtesy of Mind in Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster.