Schools play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people at a time when they are experiencing lots of physical, emotional and social changes. The introduction of Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) working within schools is a new approach to provide an additional source of support to families and schools.
In 2020, we were awarded funding from NHS England to set up 3 pilot teams in BCP, North Dorset and Weymouth & Portland. Over the last 24 months, we have been supporting our staff through their training at Exeter University and working alongside the schools who signed up for the initial project. We are pleased to say that we now have teams covering some of the schools in Weymouth, Portland & Dorchester, East Dorset (Ferndown/Wimborne) and within BCP. Please see the tabs below for the up-to-date lists of the schools we are currently working with.
MHSTs are working with a small number of schools across these areas to tackle the challenges children and young people experience, by helping them to feel more resilient, arming them with techniques to look after themselves and strategies to help them cope better with life’s ups and downs. This includes support for things like mild-moderate anxiety or worries, exam stress and friendship issues through 6-8 sessions of low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LI-CBT), counselling sessions, themed group work or information workshops. We have also been supporting the transition between schools and have been working with the year 6 classes going up into year 7. If we feel that more support is required than we are able to offer, we will help signpost the school/family to the right service to help. This may be through Early Help Hubs, Core-CAMHS or other health services or the charitable sector.
The teams will also support parents and teachers with information, advice and guidance about how best to help children and young people who are experiencing new or emerging difficulties. The teams also offer support to teachers through inset training, workshops and consultation.
There are three main ways children and young people can access support from the MHST through their school:
- When a school staff member notices a child or young person is struggling with day-to-day worries
- When a parent informs a school staff member about their concerns
- When a young person asks for support for themselves.
We hope that in time, we will be able to expand into more schools within the county, so we apologise if your school is not involved with an MHST at this current time.
Which schools are we in?
Avonwood Primary School
BCP Virtual School and College
Bournemouth and Poole College
Christchurch Infant School
Christchurch Junior School
Grange High School
Glenmoor and Winton Academies
Hamworthy Park Junior School
Hillbourne Primary School, Poole
Hill View Primary School
Kings Park Academy
LeAF Studio School (incorporating Bournemouth Academy of Modern Music, Rockley College and Dorset School of Acting)
Livingstone Road Infant
Livingstone Road Junior
Longspee Academy Junior
Longspee Academy Senior
Nigel Bowes Academy
Oakdale Junior School
Parkstone Grammar School
Poole Grammar School
Poole High School
Queens Park Academy
Queens Park Infant Academy
Somerford Primary School
St Aldhelms Academy
St Joseph's Primary School
Twin Sails Infant School
Winton Primary School
Allenbourne Middle School, Wimborne
Archbishop Wake Primary, Blandford
Blandford St Mary Primary, Blandford
Downlands Primary, Blandford
Dunbury Primary, Blandford
Durweston Primary, Blandford
Ferndown Middle School, Ferndown
Ferndown Upper School, Ferndown
Gillingham Primary, Gillingham
Gillingham Secondary School
Lockyers Middle School, Upton
Milldown Primary, Blandford
Pimperne Primary, Blandford
Queen Elizabeth Secondary, Wimborne
Spetisbury Primary, Blandford
St George’s School, Bourton
St. Mary the Virgin Primary, Gillingham
The Blandford Secondary School
The Forum Centre, Blandford
Wimborne First School, Wimborne
Wyke Primary, Gillingham
All Saints Church of England Academy, Weymouth
Atlantic Academy Portland
Beechcroft St Pauls Church of England School, Weymouth
Bincombe Valley Primary School and Community Nursery, Weymouth
Budmouth Academy, Weymouth
Chickerell Primary Academy, Weymouth
Conifers Primary School, Weymouth
Dorchester Middle School, Dorchester
Dorset Studio School, Dorchester
Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School and Community Nursery, Weymouth
Radipole Primary School, Weymouth
Southill Primary School, Weymouth
St Andrews Church of England Primary School, Weymouth
St Augustines Primary, Weymouth
St Georges Primary, Portland
St Laurence and St Nicholas CE Primary School, Weymouth
St Osmunds Middle School, Dorchester
St John’s Church of England Primary School, Weymouth
The Compass Learning Centre, Weymouth
Westfield Arts College, Weymouth
Wey Valley Academy, Weymouth
Wyke Regis Primary Federation (Infants), Weymouth
Wyke Regis Primary Federation (Juniors)
MHST YouTube Videos
A house needs foundations to stand up safely and so does your wellbeing. Returning to school? Watch this short video to find out how to make going back a little easier. The film includes advice on sleeping, healthy eating and exercise and the benefits of a settled schedule, rhythm and routine.
Watch this short video to see how to make this a little easier. This video is mostly aimed towards primary aged young people, but many of the ideas could be useful for anyone! It includes advice on leaving the house, worries around using the school bus, as well as walking to school by yourself or with others. There is also a useful section around getting to school during the current COVID-19 period.
Are you in year 6 and moving to Secondary School? We have created this video to help and reassure you about this move. We know that things have been difficult and that plans about moving schools have not happened in quite the same way as usual, so we hope this may help with what may happen.
Is your child returning to school? The MHST's have put together a short video presentation to support parents and their children with the return. We hope you find it helpful.
This is a shorter condensed version of our 'Returning to School - A Parents Guide' video which can be found above. This video is approx 8 minutes long.
http://www.Youngminds.org.uk Young Minds have a really useful website with support and advice
http://www.kooth.com Young people can sign up and access online counselling and moderated forums by qualified and registered health professionals
https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/school-nursing Information about the school nursing service and ChatHealth which is a text support service for young people between 11-19 and living in Dorset
https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/our-services-hospitals/mental-health/discovery-project Information about the Discovery College. This includes links to podcasts, videos and worksheets. Its aimed at young people and their supporters.
BBC - Headroom - Your Mental Health Toolkit - BBC site with lots of podcasts, information and resources
Under 21s information - Sexual Health Dorset - information from Sexual Health Dorset for young people over the age of 21
Healthier Together - Information for young people and parents in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Covering everything from parental mental health, to physical wellbeing, to sexual health to mental health and more.
Tips for Teachers KS1 and 2 - The MHST's have produced this leaflet with some tips for teachers who are working with Key Stages One and Two.
https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/ This Site brings together quality assured resources to help Primary Schools to promote children's mental health and wellbeing. During Covid-19 they have been producing fortnightly curated tool kits.
https://www.annafreud.org/schools-and-colleges/ The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families have a really useful section for schools and colleges. This includes links to 'mentally healthy schools', Corona Resources and 'schools in mind'
https://www.place2be.org.uk/our-services/services-for-schools/mental-health-resources-for-schools/return-to-school-resources/ Place 2 Be have put together a series of resources focused on community recovery, to help heads and school staff to bring their schools back together following the recent challenging times
https://youngminds.org.uk/resources/school-resources/supporting-your-pupils-during-the-pandemic/ Young Minds have also pulled together a number of resources to support schools to support their pupils through the current pandemic
https://www.bps.org.uk/sites/www.bps.org.uk/files/Policy/Policy%20-%20Files/Resilience%20and%20coping%20-%20supporting%20transitions%20back%20to%20school.pdf The British Psychological Society (BPS) have created this document - 'A resilience and coping framework for supporting transitions back to school'
https://camhsdorset.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Report-on-Stress-among-Chidlren-during-Covid.pdf Report from the Children's Commissioner on 'Stress in Children during Covid'.
Coronavirus support | Education Support Education Support - counselling and information for education staff in all settings
https://www.operationencompass.org/school-participation Information about Operation Encompass, supporting school staff to support young people who are witness to Domestic Violence
Covid Resources for schools:
Christmas Advent Self-Care Calendar: Check out our Advent Calendar for self-care ideas to try every day as we approach Christmas
Exploring Emotions Worksheet: This worksheet is aimed to help children understand the different emotions they may feel in various situations.
Stepladder Plan: the stepladder approach is a step-by-step way of helping children and teenagers handle anxiety. The approach involves tackling little things before facing really scary things. The approach encourages children and teenagers to face their fears, rather than avoiding them. You can use the approach for different ages and anxieties.
Positive affirmation cards:
Creating your wellbeing toolkit: It is really important to look after our mental health and wellbeing. We all experience different emotions and some can feel more difficult. It is normal for our mood to go up and down and we can learn tools to help ourselves in these times. A wellbeing toolkit can be used when we feel anxious, angry, low or overwhelmed. We have created a leaflet to help you make your own wellbeing toolkit.
Transition to Secondary School: This resource is all about making a smooth transition from primary to secondary school. We know change can be nerve-wracking, unsettling, and anxiety provoking. It is okay to feel like this. Emotions are like a rollercoaster; they are never permanent and constantly changing. You may feel different emotions at the same time, for example, excited for a change but also nervous because it feels unknown. In this resource, we'll give you tips on how to handle this big shift and make it easier for you. You'll learn some awesome coping skills that'll help you when you need it. It's all about finding what works best for you, because we know everyone is unique!
Worries & excitement: Moving to secondary school can bring with it lots of different emotions or feelings - like a rollercoaster of emotions. The worries and excitement activity gets you thinking about the things that you may be feeling worried about and the things you are also excited about. By completing this activity it helps you to be more aware of how you might be feeling about the move to your new school. Having this awareness can help us understand how to look after our wellbeing and mental health. By recognising the things we are worried about we can talk to someone we trust, maybe friends are experiencing similar worries or your parents/caregivers can ask teachers for help. By recognising the things we are also excited for helps us see that change can bring positive experiences as well.
Support network: One way of helping yourself prepare and deal with transitions is by identifying people in your support network who are there to help you. These people are the ones you can turn to and reach out to them when you need to. This worksheet is available for you to download for free so you can complete your own support network to remind yourself of all the people you can turn to if you need it.
Problem solving: When you experience a practical worry (a worry we can do something about) it can be really helpful to problem solve and find a way to solve the difficulty to help you feel better. This free resource outlines how to problem solve practical worries step by step.
Worry tree: The worry tree is a really useful tool to help children and young people organise their worries into practical (worries we can do something about) and hypothetical worries (worries we cannot do anything about).
Coping cards - A set of 16 cards you can cut out and use in work, school or at home. These are ideal for days where you might feel you need a little extra support or reminders of ways to manage on days that feel tougher:
Parenting a Teen - in this guide we talk you through teenage brain development to understand why teenagers make decisions, need more sleep and may make riskier choices. We offer advice about how you can help your teenager while looking after yourself in the process.
Affirmations - Sometimes stating positive phrases to yourself can make you feel better. Have a go at saying these and see how they make you feel
Our (S)Elf- Care Advent Calendar - Do you like what we did there? Check out our Advent Calendar for ideas to try as we approach Christmas
The MHST has created a worksheet to get you thinking about all the positive things about you! You are unique and brilliant, and sometimes it can be hard to think about all the good things about ourselves. Download and print this worksheet, and see you how you feel afterwards
We have created a wellbeing toolkit which you can complete in your own time to help you with staying well. Please click to download as a pdf
With the Summer Holidays coming up, we have updated our Wellbeing Journal for 2o22 which you can use over the holidays. Hopefully it will give you some ideas about how to connect, get active, take notice, learn and give whilst you are off school as we know sometimes it can be difficult to think of ideas! Click on the links within the journal for more ideas and websites too.
We know that Exam Stress can be a worry for many young people. We have created a handy guide with some top tips to help you manage this:
April is Stress Awareness Month. The MHST's have created a 30 day guide to ways to help reduce your stress levels, with one activity per day. We hope that you find this useful and that it gives you some new ideas or strategies to try out. We have a new guide for 2022!
Positive affirmations are phrases or statements we use to remind ourselves of our good qualities or encourage ourselves. Did you know that studies have found that with regular use, positive affirmations can be linked to greater self-esteem, reduced stress and improved sense of self? Having good self-esteem and a good sense of who we are makes us feel better in ourselves and makes us more resilient to difficulties when they arise. Here is a worksheet that you can use to try and think about the best things about me!
Parent's week: We have created a parent/carer workbook around managing anxiety for anyone to have a look at and read. Click on the link below for more information.