One of East Anglia’s leading experts on young people’s mental health is welcoming the start of recruitment to a new workforce that will enhance the support given to the mental health needs of children and young people in educational settings.
Dr Beth Mosley, lead clinical psychologist with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), has been pioneering a whole-school approach to mental health over the past four years. She has been working with a team of five at four schools in west Suffolk, in a project funded by NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, supporting the wellbeing of around 4300 students and 400 staff members.
Now, following the announcement earlier this year of an extra £2 million national funding for the integrated care system across Suffolk and north east Essex, Dr Mosley is delighted that this type of approach will benefit more young people and staff in schools. Three new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) will work across schools in east and west Suffolk and north east Essex supporting the wellbeing of more than 24,000 students in around 64 schools – 14 schools across Tendring and Colchester, 27 schools across west Suffolk and 23 schools across east Suffolk.
The new teams, due to be in place by January 2020, will comprise senior clinicians, higher level therapists and Education Mental Health Practitioners offering expert support on issues including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and eating disorders as well as training staff in identifying issues and how they can be best addressed. The teams of Education Mental Health Practitioners will also be supported with training on a new course to be delivered by the University of East Anglia.
In Suffolk sixteen new team members will be employed by NSFT, including eight trainee education mental health practitioners. In north east Essex the team will be employed by Colchester MIND.
Dr Beth Mosley, says “This is an amazing opportunity to work alongside education to support young people and their families with their mental health. The expansion of this work allows us to work more closely with primary and secondary schools. Investing in supporting children, especially the most vulnerable, their teachers and parents in these early years is critical to preparing young people for the challenges of life.
“Promoting positive mental health and giving young people opportunities to learn about how they can stay mentally healthy, as well as knowing what to do if they are worried about themselves or a friend, is something schools are working hard on. Being able to further support them with this, as well as provide evidence-based interventions for children in schools when there are concerns will support young people and their families getting the right help at the right time.”
Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex clinical commissioning groups, said: “It is fantastic that recruitment has now begun and I am very much looking forward to seeing extra support being available to our young people.
“Dr Mosley has been doing some great work in west Suffolk. She and her team have really helped many young people and their families, as well as the school staff, with wellbeing issues, and seeing the expansion of this whole-school approach is certainly pleasing.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jo Churchill for her leadership and support in the development of this whole-school approach and her commitment to wellbeing support for young people.”
Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “Providing our young people with the knowledge and support they need to maintain positive mental health is crucial, to ensuring every child can get the most out of their education and reach their individual potential.
“It is fantastic that recruitment has started for the new Mental Health Support Teams. Broadening the whole-school approach to mental health support, one I have championed since the beginning, in further schools across our community. Leading to a positive impact on the lives of more young people and their families and helping them get the help they need when they need it.”
Links to job vacancies – closing date October 20
Trainee Education Mental Health Practitioner Ipswich HERE
Trainee Education Mental Health Practitioner Bury St Edmunds HERE