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.
We have been lucky to be awarded three sites for the MHST Pilots by NHS England which are North Dorset, Weymouth & Portland and Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole as part of an initial two year project.
MHSTs are working with a small number of schools across these three 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 low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LI-CBT), counselling sessions, themed group work or information workshops.
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 difficulties.
There are three main ways children and young people can access support from the MHST:
- 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 following the two years, we will be able to expand into more schools within each area, so we apologise if your school is not involved at this current time.
MHSTs Pilot Sites
BCP Virtual School
Bournemouth and Poole College
Grange High School
Kings Park Academy
Poole High School
Queens Park Academy
Somerford Primary School
Archbishop Wake, Blandford
Blandford St Mary, Blandford
Gillingham Primary, Gilingham
Mere Primary, Mere
St George’s School, Bourton
St. Mary the Virgin, Gillingham
The Blandford School
The Forum Centre, Blandford
Wyke Primary, Gillingham
All Saints Church of England Academy
Atlantic Academy Portland
Beechcroft St Pauls Church of England School
Bincombe Valley Primary School and Community Nursery
Chickerell Primary Academy
Conifers Primary School
Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School and Community Nursery
Southill Primary School
St Andrews Church of England Primary School
St John’s Church of England Primary School
The Compass Learning Centre
Westfield Arts College
Wyke Regis Primary Federation (Infants)
Wyke Regis Primary Federation (Juniors)
Video Resource Book
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.
https://www.healthforteens.co.uk/ A website aimed at teenagers covering all areas of health and wellbeing. Run by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust with input from other trusts across the country.
BBC - Headroom - Your Mental Health Toolkit - BBC site with lots of podcasts, information and resources
https://www.healthforkids.co.uk/ A website aimed at supporting you during a child's primary school years. There is an area for children and grown ups. Run by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust with additional input from trusts across the country.
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:
April 2021 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.
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!
With the Summer Holidays coming up, we have created a Wellbeing Journal 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.