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Health

Children in Lancashire and South Cumbria to get support for mental health concerns in schools as part of NHS Trailblazer programme

Two health bodies in Lancashire and South Cumbria will be implementing NHS England’s new Trailblazer programme in the region, which will roll out mental health support in schools to help both pupils and staff create an environment of mental wellbeing.

Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Blackburn with Darwen CCG have successfully bid for funding to create new Mental Health Support Teams in schools, as set out in the Children and Young People Mental Health Green Paper and Long-Term Plan for the NHS

NHS England is leading the establishment of Mental Health Support Teams to develop models of early intervention for mild to moderate mental health issues and to support young people and school staff to identify potential signs of mental distress before they escalate.

Pupils struggling with mental health will benefit from more joined up care and support across schools and specialist NHS services, in a national roll out of the £9.3 million training scheme.

Morecambe Bay and Blackburn with Darwen are two of 48 successful trailblazer sites in the second wave of Government’s Trailblazers programme to put experts in schools and other education establishments recruiting 120 new Mental Health Support Teams from September 2019.

Morecambe Bay have secured funding for two teams; one for the Morecambe and Heysham area and another for the Barrow-in-Furness area. Each team will have six Mental Health Support Workers which means that the 8,000 children in each area will have access to the support they provide.

Lauren Dixon, Barrow GP and GP executive Lead for Children and Young People at NHS Morecambe Bay CCG said, “This is fantastic news for the local area. This project will provide much needed support for children at schools located in Morecambe and Barrow, which are both areas identified as having high levels of deprivation.

“Having Mental Health Support Teams in schools will provide support for children with mental health needs at a much earlier stage. This will mean that our CAMHS services will be able to focus on those who most need the specialist input they provide.

“The bid was specifically targeted to meet the needs that young people have told us about, and it was developed in partnership with schools, the voluntary sector, CAMHS and local authorities.”

The teams for Morecambe Bay will begin their training in January 2020 with the view that full support will be offered to schools from January 2021.

Blackburn with Darwen has secured additional funding to create two MHSTs for secondary schools and colleges. The Support Teams will provide one to one and group therapy for mild to moderate mental health issues, give timely advice to school and college staff, as well as liaise with specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education.

Dr Penny Morris, Medical Director at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been successful in our bid for trailblazer funding to support young people suffering with poor mental health within Blackburn with Darwen. Offering more support to young people in schools at a much earlier stage, will help them to achieve the best educational outcomes and reduce the chance of them developing more serious mental health issues in later in life.”

John Woodcock MP, who has been at the forefront of the issue, said: “These appointments are desperately needed as children face a mental health crisis with rising worries coming from home and exam stress and yet they often find that there is inadequate support available to them.

“There is still much more to do but every step in the right direction like this can help change the lives of young people having a tough time. Taking steps to help improve the mental health of students is vital to help them achieve their potential at school, which our area really needs.”

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