Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs)
The Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) work in schools and education settings with a focus on delivering mental health support at the first signs of difficulty. We work in partnership with the school community and other wellbeing services to develop a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, building on what is being done already.
We support mental health in schools and education settings in different ways:
- Evidence based interventions for low mood, anxiety and worries and behaviour difficulties. This might be individually, with a parent/carer or part of a group.
- A ‘whole school approach’ to understanding and improving mental health, which may include supporting the school’s mental health lead, supporting with the PSHE curriculum, staff training and school policies.
- Give timely advice to school and college staff, and liaise with other services, to help children and young people to get the right support through consultation.
Who we are:
Our teams consist of a Team or Clinical lead, Senior Practitioners and Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs).
Our practitioners are trained, or are training, in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) interventions, other evidence-based therapies or are experienced mental health professions.
How do we help?
Our practitioners use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). This is based upon the understanding that how we think, feel and behaviour is closely linked to understanding a young person’s difficulties. Understanding how these interact for the young person is important. CBT helps the young person to develop a toolbox of strategies and new ways of coping with difficult situations. These skills are all evidence based, which means researchers have tested them and found that they are shown to work.
What can a Young Person expect?
We offer between 4-12 sessions, which will usually be weekly. In between sessions, there will be home tasks to put into action the new skills that have been learnt. This might be individually or as part of a small group.
Depending on the age of the child or young person, we may work either directly with them or with parent/ carers independently. With primary aged children, we focus on helping the family to learn new skills to help their child.
Outside of direct support we will work closely with those who young people spend the most time with, such as teachers, family, carers, and friends.
We also work with school staff and offer support on different levels, with the aim of developing and supporting a whole school approach to mental health.
How can we access support from MHST?
We are usually based in our partner MHST education settings. The Senior and Pastoral Leaders at these education settings are aware how help can be sought from MHST.
If a young person/parent/carer is interested in receiving support, you can ask to have a conversation about this with school. They will listen to you and consider if MHST might be helpful.
We ask that when making a request for consultation, it is discussed with the child or young person and consent gained from both the young person and person with parental responsibility. Young people at secondary school can seek support for themselves within school.
Barnardo’s delivers 12 MHSTs across England including Swindon, Birmingham and Solihull, Morecambe Bay, North Cumbria, and Isle of Wight.
To learn more about Barnardo’s commissioned MHSTs please visit the Barnardo’s website – Mental Health Support Teams
You can also search for your local MHST on the Barnardo’s website for direct contact details: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/