New project to improve mental health support in City and Hackney schools

Thirty nine schools across City and Hackney are set to receive specialist support and training as part of a new mental health and wellbeing project.

Led by the CAHMS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) Alliance, the Wellbeing and Mental Health in Schools Project will see clinicians working with City and Hackney schools throughout this year to provide specialist advice, guidance and training to support more students’ mental health and wellbeing.

A CAMHS clinician will join colleagues from Hackney Learning Trust to work with school staff to pull together a plan that puts wellbeing at the heart of school life, while also reviewing what is already in place. The clinician will also provide information and links to other organisations to ensure that all staff are equipped with the skills, confidence and information to respond to the needs of both young people and their families.

With training to identify and better understand young people vulnerable to poor mental health, teachers will be able to put support in place before issues develop.

In Hackney, an estimated 5,890 of 60,000 children and young people up to the age of 18 years are affected by a mental illness every year.

Fay Day, Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator and Mental Health Lead at Mossbourne Parkside Academy, said: “This new approach to mental health support will help teachers identify mental health and wellbeing support needs early on. We already have pockets of mental health good practice at the school however, this project will be using a universal approach which means that teachers will have the awareness, skills and knowledge to support the emotional wellbeing of all children and their families. Teachers are really excited about this new way of working, as well as working with the clinician and all partners from the CAHMS Alliance.”

Annie McHugh, the CAMHS clinical psychologist linked to Mossbourne Parkside Academy, said: “I’m looking forward to being based in schools and hope this will lead to more collaboration between schools and CAMHS services, when supporting the children and families in Hackney.”

Sophie McElroy, CAMHS Alliance Project Manager, said: “Schools already undertake some fantastic work to support vulnerable young people; this project is about pulling all of that work together, filling in any gaps while providing additional training. This project capitalises on the excellent relationships schools have with children and families. I’m really looking forward to seeing the results of the project.”

The Project forms part of a host of other initiatives to support schools which champion and promote emotional health and wellbeing, ensuring that pupils are supported throughout their time in education.

Clinicians visited schools during the first phase of the project which ran from May to June this year. The next phase of the project began this September. For more information about CAHMS, visit: www.cityandhackneycamhs.org.uk