Hertfordshire to be national trailblazer in schools’ mental health support

Picture: Pexels

Picture: Pexels - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire has been chosen as a national trailblazer in school mental health support, with children set to get early help from specialist teams as part of a new initiative.

The government has named Hertfordshire as one of only 25 areas to launch Mental Health Support Teams for schoolchildren this year.

Doctor Geraldine O’Sullivan, clinical lead for mental health at the Hertfordshire and west Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, said: “I’m delighted Hertfordshire has been chosen as a trailblazer in testing Mental Health Support Teams for primary and secondary school pupils.

“Our plan will see 40 schools supported by two teams of support workers, which could include youth workers as well as mental health practitioners, providing evidence-based support in community venues, not just schools. We are also planning on having parent education programmes provided by the voluntary sector.

“This initiative will make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people. It will further improve links between mental health services and schools to ensure children, parents and teachers know where they can get support and help for young people with mental health concerns.”

The MHSTs are a key initiative set out in the government’s recent Children and Young People Mental Health Green Paper.

Dr O’Sullivan said: “Developing mental health support in schools so young people have easy access to help is a key priority in Hertfordshire’s five-year mental health and wellbeing transformation plan.

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“The MHSTs will provide early help to pupils, support school staff and ensure children and young people with more severe needs access the right support by providing a link to specialist NHS services.”

Beth Honnor, headteacher at Stevenage’s Marriotts School, sits on Hertfordshire’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing board and said: “Parents and pupils have told us they want more mental health support provided within schools and locally.

“School staff see young people day in, day out and are there for them at tough times, of course, but with these new teams we will be even better placed to help pupils in need.””