A project which supports children and young people with mental health needs is being rolled out to all schools in the city.
eeds City Council’s Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Project has been running a successful pilot in over 120 Leeds schools. The project, developed and managed by the Healthy Schools and Wellbeing Service, develops schools’ emotional wellbeing and mental health provision while providing young people with swifter and easier access to mental health professionals.
The project has already demonstrated measurable improvements in the mental health of children and young people, family issues, school improvement and keeping children and young people safe from harm.
Due to this success further short term setup funding from Leeds City Council’s children’s services, NHS Leeds and School’s Forum has been sourced to expand the project to all schools in Leeds.
In order to find out more about what is on offer and to meet potential providers, professionals from schools across the city attended an information event earlier this week which:
* gave an overview of the TaMHS programme;
* outlined the funding offer and requirements;
* allowed schools to meet potential providers and existing TaMHS clusters, and;
* gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions.
The event was well attended by representatives from all remaining clusters of schools in the city and eight potential service providers including Barca, Black Health Initiatives, CAMHS, Leeds Counselling, Relate, The Beck, The Place2Be and Women’s Counselling and Therapy Service. In addition representatives from Northern Gas Networks came to find out more about the project from a range of speakers including Sarah Sinclair, Chief Officer for Strategy, Commissioning and Performance of Children’s Services.
Emotional wellbeing and mental health play a key part of a person’s ability to learn effectively, contribute positively to the community and be resilient to problems when they arise. One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years has a mental health problem, and many continue to have such issues into adulthood. Half of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14 and three-quarters before their mid-20s.
TaMHS works with school age children and young people to improve their emotional well-being and mental health by intervening earlier, tackling problems faster and working preventatively.
Children and young people, and sometimes their families or carers, are able to access specialist counselling and other mental health services, but the project also helps to promote social and emotional skills for all pupils.
Ensuring children in Leeds are safe from harm and doing well in learning are two of the priorities of the Leeds’ Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP). Emotional wellbeing and mental health support contributes to these priorities by helping to resolve such issues which can get in the way of doing well at school and leading a happy life.
Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“It’s vital that we recognise how important a child’s emotional well-being and mental health are for their education and development. By rolling this out city-wide means even more children and young people will be able to access the help they need.
“Schools are well-placed to spot difficulties as they arise but sometimes in the past staff have felt they lacked the expertise to deal with emotional and mental health issues and referrals for specialist help could take time.
“The beauty of this project is that it gives school staff the skills and support to deal with many of the issues themselves but specialist mental health professionals are also available so children who need this help can get it much faster.
Clusters are organised groups of schools and other services and partners, who come together to pool services to their local communities and pupils. The clusters are also putting significant funds into the project, with a longer term commitment to sustain the project, demonstrating a commitment from all parties to joint investment in mental health.