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Mental Health Support Teams for children and young people to expand to all Island schools and colleges

MHSTs 1 Smaller
Mental Health Support Teams for children and young people to expand to all Island schools and colleges
07 July 2021

A pilot service that currently supports the wellbeing of young people aged 5 to 19 in eight Island schools, will expand to all schools from next year.

 The Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Barnardo’s and the Isle of Wight Youth Trust have been working in partnership to deliver the new UK Government initiative in England, Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) in schools and colleges across the Island.

 This MHST service was launched locally in January 2021 and in its initial development phase, it is working with four primary host schools and four secondary host schools.

 Primary host schools include:

  • Oakfield Primary School
  • Barton Primary School
  • Nine Acres Primary School
  • Medina House School

 Secondary host schools include:

  • Cowes Enterprise College
  • The Isle of Wight College
  • The Bay CE School
  • The Island Learning Centre

 The development phase involves collaboration in designing the service with the support teams becoming accessible to children and young people from May 2021.

 The practitioners offer early support with evidence-based interventions, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to treat mild to moderate mental health conditions, such as low mood, stress, anxiety and challenging behaviour.

 From January 2022, this service will become fully accessible to all schools across the Island. Children and young people will be able to access support from Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) to supplement the existing support already in place for children and young people aged 4 to 18 years old.

 In addition to working with individual children and young people, their families and carers, the MHST service will also work with school and college staff, offering training and consultation to support and develop a collaborative ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.

 For children and young people in participating schools and colleges, they can access this service by referral from their school’s Mental Health lead.

 The MHST service has three main aims, to:

  1. deliver evidence-based interventions for mild to moderate mental health issues.
  2. support the senior mental health lead in each school or college to introduce and develop their whole school or college approach
  3. give timely advice to school and college staff, working with existing services for children and young people to get the right support and stay in education. This will include working with CAHMS who support children and young people who have more severe, complex or persistent disorders.

 Helen Figgins, Service Manager for Children’s Mental Health at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said,

 We are delighted that children and young people will benefit from this initiative to provide additional mental health and wellbeing support in our Island schools and colleges.

 “We are collaborating with existing service providers as part of an integrated approach to ensure the MHST service is responsive, fits local needs and is based on an understanding of the needs of the children and young people on the Island. We are also committed to engaging children and young people, their parents, carers in the development and setting up of this service to ensure it’s tailored to reflect their needs.

 “This should lead to a more positive experience for children and young people, their families and carers with improved knowledge and confidence in dealing with mental health issues.”

In England today, approximately *one in eight children and young people aged 5 to 19 have a diagnosable mental health problem, with half all problems emerging before the age of 14. There is clear evidence that early intervention can prevent problems escalating and can have major social benefits.

 Roland White, Assistant Principal, Isle of Wight College, said:

‘The Isle of Wight College is delighted to have been selected to host an education mental health practitioner (EMHP). This new role will be invaluable in supporting young peoples’ mental health on the island. Our EMHP, Ella Craig and Callum Shairp, are already establishing themselves as valuable members of the college community and we look forward to working with them to support college students.’

 The MHST service is funded by NHS England, Health Education England and partners and designed to improve children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Rachel McKernan, Assistant Director Children's Services, Barnardo's said: "Barnardo’s is delighted to be collaborating with the IOW NHS Trust and Youth Trust on delivery of this new service which will support children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing in schools.  Prevention programmes and early intervention support are essential to ensuring children and young people enjoy the best possible mental health and this service will deliver both at a time when it couldn’t be more needed."

Kathy Whitewood, Wellbeing Service Lead/MHST Secondary Team Lead, Isle of Wight Youth Trust said: “Education settings play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people, and The IOW Youth Trust is committed to work in collaboration to build on the work we currently undertake to tackle the challenges children and young people experience with their mental health and wellbeing. Alongside support for children and young people, the MHST service is looking forward to offering additional resource to parents and teachers with information, advice and guidance about how best to help children and young people who are experiencing difficulties and embed a proactive positive mental health culture & ethos within Island schools. ”

Sue Ford, Children's Coordinator - Designated Teacher, The Bay CE School said: “We know that mental health needs are rising in young people and at The Bay CE School we are very pleased to be able to work with the new Mental Health Support Team to provide support for our students. It is also such a pleasure to have the trainee Education Mental Health Practitioners working in our school community as they develop their skills and experience. We really look forward to harnessing their energy, enthusiasm and passion for supporting students' mental health and working with us on this much needed project. “

Mrs Jemma Harding, Vice Principal, Cowes Enterprise College said: “We are very excited to be working with the Mental Health Support Team in delivering another layer of provision for Cowes Enterprise College students.  Wellbeing and mental health are at the heart of the academy and we believe that being happy and healthy is the first step to being successful. We are committed to promoting resilience and positive mental health and wellbeing for both staff and students and our work with the MHST service will help to strengthen our already supportive safeguarding and inclusion teams”

 If you have any questions or would like further information about the service, then please email the MHST at:

*Figures taken from: Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: a Green Paper

Photo: Mental Health Support Team : 

Front row left to right:
Kathy Whitewood, Youth Trust: Head of wellbeing and counselling (MHST Secondary team lead) Lily James-Neau, Barnardo’s: EMHP, Charlotte Young,IOW NHS Trust: MHST Clinical Team Leader,

Second row Left to Right
Maria Villa Vine, Youth Trust: EMHP, Emma Meek, Barnardo’s: Children Service Manager (MHST Primary Team  Lead), Bea Morris, Barnardo’s EMHP, Amber Warren, Youth Trust: EMHP, Fiona Robbers, Barnardo’s: Service Administrator

Third row Left to right:
Katrina Redpath, Barnardo’s:  Senior practitioner, Iben Driffield, Barnardo’s: Senior practitioner, Alice Hilton, Barnardo’s: EMHP, Aaron Youngson-Haynes, Youth Trust, EMHP

Back row left to right:
Callum Shairp, Barnardo’s:  EMHP, Ella Craig, Youth Trust: EMHP

 **EMHP – Education Mental Health Practitioner

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