In 2017, the Government published its Green Paper for Transforming children and young people’s mental health.
This detailed proposals for expanding access to mental health care for children and young people, building on the national NHS transformation programme which is already underway.
One of the programme’s main commitments is establishing Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs), jointly delivered with the Department for Education.
What’s happening in West Lancashire
West Lancashire CCG has been selected to establish Mental Health Support Teams in Skelmersdale and Upholland.
The CCG has an ambition to establish a further MHST covering the remaining area of West Lancashire in future years. The Skelmersdale and Upholland area has been selected for the earlier wave due to the higher levels of deprivation.
What is a Mental Health Support Team?
Our Mental Health Support Teams will provide direct mental health support to education settings across Skelmersdale and Upholland.
The service will aim to promote the early detection and prevention of mental health problems across the whole school/college and strengthen links between schools/colleges and mental health services.
The team will provide direct, ongoing support around mental health and wellbeing. This will include:
- Providing direct interventions to pupils with mild to moderate mental health conditions, such as anxiety, low mood or behavioural difficulties.
- Where young people require specialist support, making onward referrals to health and wellbeing services for children and young people across Skelmersdale and Upholland.
- Providing training, education and advice to school staff to help them better support their pupils around mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Championing mental wellbeing and resilience across the whole school community, providing guidance around issues such as bullying and coping with exam stress.
- The service will sit alongside and complement any existing mental health support that schools have access to.
Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs)
EMHPs will represent the majority of the MHST workforce. Under supervision, EMHPs will deliver and assess outcome focused, evidence-based interventions to children and young people with mild-to-moderate mental health problems, and support their families, parents and carers.
They will support the senior mental health lead to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach and give timely advice to education setting staff, and liaise with external specialists, to help children and young people stay in education.
They will also liaise with supervisors to agree appropriate signposting and referrals for children and young people. EMHPs will play an important role in supporting and working with education to identify and manage issues related to mental health, and work with them to improve access to mental health services.
The teams will undertake training and there will be a phased approach and implementation with schools from January, before becoming fully operational the following year.