The NHS Long Term Plan re-confirmed the commitments from the 2017 Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper which set out proposals to improve mental health support in schools and colleges. Over the next five years the NHS will fund new Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) working in schools and colleges, building on the support already available, which will be rolled out to between one-fifth and a quarter of the country by the end of 2023.
In 2018 a selection process identified the first two trailblazer sites in the South West who will deliver seven MHSTs (three in Swindon and four in Gloucestershire).
National funding is being made available for a further round of trailblazer sites during 2019-20 to build new capacity of MHSTs.
MHSTs will have three core functions:
- Delivering evidence-based interventions for mild to moderate mental health issues. The new teams will carry out interventions alongside established provision such as counselling, educational psychologists, and school nurses building on the menu of support already available and not replacing it.
- Supporting the designated senior mental health lead in each education setting to introduce or develop their whole school or college approach.
- Giving timely advice to school and college staff, and liaising with external specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education. Work as part of an integrated referral system with community services to ensure that children and young people who need it receive appropriate support as quickly as possible.
The clinical network continues to work closely with regional and national NHSE CYP mental health teams and with CAMHS commissioners, the South West STPs and providers to support the implementation of wave 1 MHSTs as well as the bidding process for wave 2 sites.