Vulnerable pupils in South Staffordshire are to benefit from a new initiative providing more targeted mental health support to schools.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) is preparing to launch the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer scheme in a number of primary, secondary and special schools in the Cannock Chase area.

This follows a successful bid from MPFT and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) representing the south of the county to establish a Mental Health Support Team as part of the national Trailblazer scheme.

The team will be made up of a number of Education Mental Health Practitioners, who will offer interventions and support to pupils studying at participating schools from January.

As well as the schools themselves, the team will also work collaboratively with local authorities to ensure pupils are able to receive the help they need.

Claire Bailey, Managing Director of MPFT’s Children and Families Care Group, said: “We’re thrilled this joint bid for national funding has been successful to develop a Trailblazer scheme in Cannock Chase.

“This will enable more targeted mental health support to be offered to vulnerable pupils who are in need. The Trailblazer initiative is already helping to make a difference to the lives of young people in other parts of the region, as well as across the country and I’m really pleased participating schools will be able to benefit from this innovative service.”

Dr Gary Free, GP and Chair of Cannock Chase CCG said: “Mental health, like most conditions, is best diagnosed at an early stage. If we can get help to children as soon as possible it could help for a lifetime.

“During the COVID crisis young people have been experiencing new and unique pressures which may have an impact on their mental health. This development supporting schools is therefore particularly timely and welcome.”

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