Mental Health Support Teams in Schools (MHST) is an important strand of the Government’s 2017 Green Paper ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’.
We currently have two teams in West Sussex – Bognor and Felpham and North West Crawley and we are currently working with a total of 28 primary and secondary schools. Work in these areas will enable MHSTs to engage with children aged 5-18, those in mainstream and special units in schools, and those who have been permanently excluded from school.
There are three core functions to the MHST
- Delivering evidence based interventions in schools for mild to moderate mental health issues.
MHST practitioners will deliver short-term (usually 4-10 sessions) goal-based interventions for children and young people. Interventions are based on either cognitive (managing difficult thoughts and the behaviours they lead to) or behavioural ideas (considering changes to behaviours that may keep the difficulty going e.g. avoidance or withdrawal).. These low-intensity CBT interventions are generally suitable for mild to moderate difficulties in the following areas:
Sleep difficulties related to poor sleep routine, behavioural problems, anxiety-based night-time avoidance behaviours, or
problematic thoughts or worries at night
Poor eating patterns or diet affected by and/or affecting mood (Not eating disorders)
Low mood, depression and low self-esteem
Anxiety difficulties including phobias (e.g. animals, vomit, agoraphobia etc.), separation anxiety, social anxiety, school avoidance and excessive worry (Not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Common behavioural difficulties (ages 4-8 only)
Requests for this support is made by the senior mental health lead (SMHL) in one of the MHST schools
- Supporting the senior mental health lead in each education setting to introduce or develop their whole school or college approach.
Some in the team are dedicated to supporting our schools to develop a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing working to a framework of 8 principles from the government document Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing . The eight principles are:
•Leadership and Management
•The school ethos and environment
•Curriculum, teaching and learning
•Staff development, health and wellbeing
•Identifying need and monitoring impact
•Working with parents / carers
We have developed an audit tool designed to help and support schools with their whole school approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health. It looks at each of the eight principles of a whole school approach and asks questions about each area. By completing the questions schools should be able to identify what’s working well with their whole school approach and any areas they would like to develop.
- Giving timely advice to school and college staff, and liaising with external specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education.
Being an integrated service we have links with CAMHS, Early Help and Children’s Social Care and a number of other providers or mental health services. We offer advice and guidance around specific young people and the help that they may need as well as sign posting to other services.
We also consult with schools about the support that they need and respond with training opportunities and supervision groups.
If you wish to contact us, please email at: [email protected]
Last updated 1 February 2021