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It’s an exciting time for Children and Young People’s Mental Health. Following the Government’s 2017 Green Paper Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision we are now in an extended trailblazer phase of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) across the country. These teams are being set up to serve clusters of schools and colleges in the provision of preventative, and early, evidence-based interventions, support, and advice for young people’s mental health difficulties. This will have a much-needed impact on increasing timely, accessible, evidence-based input to young people, families, and school/college staff. Each MHST will work with up to 20 schools and colleges, serving an average population of 8000 children and young people (CYP). The initiative is seeing close collaboration between health, education and social care, cutting across traditional boundaries and looking to build on good-quality provision where it already exists.
A new national role of Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) has been created to form a core part of the staffing within MHSTs and Health Education England are supporting the funding of these posts and training. EMHPs will provide direct, evidence-based, 1:1 or group psychological interventions to children, young people and their families, alongside providing support and information to families and school staff and contributing to whole-school approaches to mental health (e.g. PSHE, mental health initiatives, peer support).
As a region we were excited to see North Kent successful in their bid to host two MHST trailblazer sites in the January 2019 wave of trailblazers, and we have supported them in funding for their EMHPs and senior practitioners. We look forward to hearing more about their progress and impact. We are confident there will be numerous further trailblazer sites across the region in the September 2019 and January 2020 wave, and look forward to supporting the training needs of their staff. Crucially, we are also really pleased that the University of Sussex has been announced as one of only 14 Universities in the country who will be providing EMHP and supervisor training, as we now have a training provider based within the region to complement the existing provision from Kings/UCL.
It’s worth noting that we will continue to be funding and supporting Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP) recruitment and training. This is still a central new role within the CYP mental health workforce for increasing access to evidence-based interventions. Although there is some overlap in roles, EMHPs will have a stronger focus on prevention and early intervention in educational settings and working with wider systems to enable them to effectively support CYP around their mental health. CWPs will have a core focus on direct 1:1, group, and guided self-help interventions across different settings (health, education, community and voluntary sector). Both EMHPs and CWPs will be Band 4 agenda for change during training and Band 5 on successful completion of training. Both roles are proving extremely popular and attracting people from a wide variety of backgrounds. We were delighted to have over 300 applications (with the advert closing early due to the volume of applications) for the September cohort of trainee EMHPs in the region.
Principal Clinical Psychologist