NHS mental health programme rolled out in schools

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Pupils struggling with mental health are to benefit from more joined-up care and support across schools, colleges and specialist NHS services, in a national rollout of a £9.3 million training scheme.

Every school, college and alternative provision will be offered training through a series of workshops as part of the Link Programme, with the most appropriate member of staff from each put forward to take part alongside mental health specialists. This is designed to improve partnerships with professional NHS mental health services, raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed.

Starting in September, the training will be rolled out to schools and colleges in phases over four years, being offered to up to 22,000 schools and colleges, including alternative provision settings.

The Link Programme will deliver just under 1,000 training sessions across England involving two whole-day workshops for up to 20 schools at a time to cover all 22,000 schools, encouraging collaborative work so children do not fall between the cracks or experience poor transition between services.

One in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood. This package of measures is part of the Government’s plan to improve mental health support for children and young people, including identifying mental health issues before they become more acute.

The Government also confirmed today that 124 new Mental Health Support Teams will be created in 48 areas across the country. Each designated team will support around 20 schools and colleges in their area, helping speed up access to specialist services and building on support already in place from school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector, so that more children and young people get the help and support they need, when they need it.

Research highlights the important role the school environment plays in equipping children and young people with skills to support their own wellbeing. The Department for Education has this week also launched an exercise to recruit a specialist provider to deliver training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, so they have the skills and knowledge to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and implement effective processes for children and young people to receive appropriate support.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, said:

“The NHS is treating more children and young people for mental health conditions than ever before, and by offering expertmental health training in schoolsand identifying illness earlier we can help thousands more families to get the help they need to take care of their children.”

Bob Jope HEALTHWATCH TORBAY

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(Author)

Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!