Mental Health Support Teams in Schools (MHSTs)

Dorset MHST Logo Transparent BG

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?

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole


Avonbourne Academy

Avonwood Primary School

Bayside Academy

BCP Virtual School and College

Bourne Academy

Bournemouth and Poole College

Christchurch Infant School

Christchurch Junior School

Elm Academy

Grange High School

Glenmoor and Winton Academies

Hamworthy Park Junior School

Hillbourne Primary School, Poole

Hill View Primary School

Iford Academy

Kings Park Academy

Kingsleigh Primary

Kinson Primary

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

Manorside Academy

Nigel Bowes Academy

Oak 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

Twynham School

Winton Primary School

North and East Dorset


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

Milton-on-Stour, Gillingham

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

Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester


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

Chapter 1: Back to Basics

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.






Chapter Two: Getting to school

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.

Bonus Video: Transitioning to Secondary School

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.

Returning to School - A Parent's Guide - Full Version

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.

Returning to School - A Shorter Guide for Parents

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.

Useful information

Helpful Organisations and Websites Young Minds have a really useful website with support and advice Young people can sign up and access online counselling and moderated forums by qualified and registered health professionals Information about the school nursing service and ChatHealth which is a text support service for young people between 11-19 and living in Dorset 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.


For Professionals and Teaching Staff

General resources:

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. 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. 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' 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 Young Minds have also pulled together a number of resources to support schools to support their pupils through the current pandemic The British Psychological Society (BPS) have created this document -  'A resilience and coping framework for supporting transitions back to school' 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 Information about Operation Encompass, supporting school staff to support young people who are witness to Domestic Violence



Covid Resources for schools:



Letter for parents of primary age children in self isolation

Ideas for primary age children in self isolation

A guide for parents of primary age children who are being asked to self  isolate



A letter for secondary age pupils who have been asked to self isolate

Ideas and tips for secondary age pupils who have been asked to self isolate

A guide for parents of secondary age pupils who have been asked to self isolate


Resources for Children, Young People and Families

30 Ways To Stress Less: April is Stress Awareness Month and so we thought we would share with you 30 ways for you and your families to manage stress, stay connected and promote good physical and mental health. There is one idea for every day of the month so you can try different ideas out and see what works for you. 

30 Ways To Stress Less

Stress Bucket: The Stress Bucket is a useful tool to help explain how to manage stress. Above the bucket are clouds – the things that cause you stress. These rain into the bucket and gradually fill it up. You release the stress by doing things you enjoy or that help you to stress less.

Stress Bucket Resource

Ultimate Revision Guide: This guide is brimming with top-notch revision tips and techniques. In this guide we'll also help you take care of your mental health too and help ease feelings of exam stress and worry. You got this!

Dorset MHST Ultimate Revision Guide

Helping hands activity: For Random Acts of Kindness Week. Write the ways to help others, and decorate the hand picture with markers or crayons. Then cut it out and display it on the wall.

Helping Hands Classroom Activity

Guide for parents/carers: Children's Worries and Anxieties: This booklet is packed full of resources and activities, including our top tips and advice, about how to look after children when they feel worried or anxious.

Children's Worries and Anxieties: A Guide For Parents/Carers

Christmas-Themed Mindfulness Doodling Activity: Christmas can be a fantastic but frantic time of year. The hustle and bustle of it all can get a tad overwhelming at times! Help yourself stay calm and collected with these Christmas doodles. An easy and reliable, festive-flavoured calming activity to give you a break.

Christmas-Themed Mindfulness Doodling Activity

Colour Your Own Christmas Cards: Crafting your own Christmas cards is not only a jolly good time, but it's also a great way to bond with others and boost your mental wellbeing. So, get cozy with some mindful crafting and jazz up our festive templates with your personal flair.

Christmas Cards Mindfulness Colouring

Christmas Advent Self-Care Calendar: Check out our Advent Calendar for self-care ideas to try every day as we approach Christmas

Advent Calendar 2023

Exploring Emotions Worksheet: This worksheet is aimed to help children understand the different emotions they may feel in various situations.

Exploring Emotions Worksheet

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.

Stepladder Plan

Positive affirmation cards:

Positive Affirmation Cards Dorset MHST

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.

Dorset MHST Wellbeing toolkit leaflet

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!

How to Prepare for School Transition or Change

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.

Worries & Excitement

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.

My Support Network

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.

Problem Solving

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).

The Worry Tree - Summer 2023

The Worry Tree - Christmas edition

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:

Coping Cards

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.

Parenting a Teen

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

(S)Elf-Care Advent Calendar

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

Best Things About ME

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

Wellbeing toolkit for children and young people

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.

Summer Wellbeing Journal MHST 2022

Summer Wellbeing Journal MHST

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:

Guide to managing Exam Stress

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!

Stress Awareness Month - April 2021

Stress Less Calendar MHST 2022