It forms part of the national Trailblazer scheme and will see specially trained Education Mental Health Practitioners working alongside Mental Health Leads in schools to offer interventions and support to pupils experiencing low level mental health difficulties, such as low mood and anxiety.
This enables schools to be given timely advice, facilitating swifter access to specialist services and building on support already in place from professionals, such as school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector.
Teams already cover North Telford, South Telford, North East Shropshire, and North West Shropshire and are working well with schools. For example, in Shrewsbury and Oswestry the team is trialling drop-in sessions with targeted early help services to support parents and children.
Liam Laughton, Head of Children, Young People and Family Services in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin said: “Mental health is a serious issue affecting children and young people, who can feel stressed, lonely and frightened and often struggle to cope with the pressure they are feeling. By working directly with schools and supporting pupils at a much earlier stage, this will help to reduce the number of referrals into specialised mental health services and lead to shorter waiting times for young people accessing mental health services.
“The teams are making a real difference in the schools they are working with, so I’m delighted we’re launching a new team in South Shropshire to provide additional support to pupils based in more rural parts of the county.”
Among the schools that will be working with the new Mental Health Support Team is Church Stretton School. Su Quye, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and Children Looked After (CLA) Lead with the school said of the new partnership: “We are delighted, and excited to be part of this project which will increase access to specialist mental health support in South Shropshire, benefitting not just the young people in our school, but all local young people through our community links.”