Young people at an extra 81 schools and colleges across Lancashire and South Cumbria are now receiving mental health support from specialist teams.
The announcement comes ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week (6-12 February 2023) when landmarks and buildings across the region will be lit green to shine a light on young mental health.
The extra support is in place after educational mental health practitioners from five mental health support teams (MHSTs) recently completed their 12 months of training. There are 17 teams in total now supporting a total of 186 education settings, including primary, secondary and special schools, pupil referral units and colleges.
Helen Rimmer, children and young people’s mental health programme manager at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, the organisation that organises healthcare services in the region, said: “Mental health support teams help children and young people to thrive emotionally. As part of the national roll out, we have been able to introduce more teams to support more children and young people across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
“Our MHSTs equip pupils with tools and strategies to deal with life’s everyday challenges, such as moving to new schools, exam stress, worries, angry feelings, low mood and help to develop healthy relationships.”
The teams help children and young people experiencing emotional or wellbeing issues such as low-level anxiety, low mood, or friendship or behavioural difficulties.
They also give advice to school staff and parents, developing a whole-school approach, to help children get the right support and remain in education. Where necessary, the teams will work alongside other services such as child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
Healthy relationships with family, friends and school staff are vital for children’s wellbeing, offering a strong protective factor against poor mental health. The work of the MHSTs supports these relationships to develop and thrive.
Since the first MHSTs launched in 2019, dedicated staff have developed workshops, assemblies, teacher training, and parent/carer sessions to help support children and their families in the community.
Helen added: “We are proud of the work being undertaken by the MHSTs in our area and as part of Children’s Mental Health Week we wanted to shine a light on our commitment to improving the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people.
“What better way to do that than by lighting up some of our most significant local buildings and landmarks, such as Blackpool Tower, Kendal Town Hall Clock, Accrington Town Hall and Edge Hill University, for all to see?”
A further team in East Lancashire is due to start its training in October 2023, which will bring the total of MHSTs in the region to 18 by the end of the year.
To mark the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, the following monuments will be lit green on Monday 6 February:
- Accrington Town Hall
- Kendal Town Hall Clock
- Nelson Clock Tower
- Blackpool Tower
- Lytham Windmill
- Marine Hall Dome, Fleetwood
- Edge Hill University
For more information about mental health support teams in Lancashire and South Cumbria visit www.healthyyoungmindslsc.co.uk/MHST