Supporting emotional health and wellbeing in schools

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l-r administrative assistant Harry Bowden, mental health education officer Rosie Adams, Mental Health Innovation Fund project manager Rhonda Forbes, and mental health education officers Ruth Masson and Keren Hadden

A new project aimed at improving support for children and young people has seen over 3,000 education staff in Tayside receive emotional health and wellbeing training.

The Tayside Mental Health Innovation Fund Project is a three-year programme which has a key focus on early intervention and prevention. It aims to support education, health and other community staff to build resilience and provide emotional health and wellbeing support for children and young people at an early stage.

To help improve the support available for children, the emotional health and wellbeing training has been delivered to a range of staff including newly qualified teachers, class teachers, head teachers, classroom support staff, school nurses and other multi-disciplinary professionals.

Since the project began in May 2016, 3,199 primary and secondary school staff, as well as 180 other health, social care and voluntary sector professionals, have received training with the potential to reach and support over 50,000 pupils in Tayside.

Project manager Rhonda Forbes said, “More and more children are struggling to cope with emotional health and wellbeing issues and it is recognised that education staff are central to supporting good emotional health and wellbeing in young people.

“Feedback on the training has been extremely positive with practitioners reporting that they now feel more confident in supporting children’s emotional health and wellbeing in practice.”

Sheena Devlin, Perth & Kinross Council’s Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services, and Lead for the Tayside Regional Improvement Collaborative (TRIC), said, “Positive mental health and wellbeing is a key element in children and young people thriving, flourishing and attaining. Our staff are often required to respond to low level emotional wellbeing concerns whilst also supporting learning.

“Feedback from the training that has been provided to school staff across Tayside indicates they feel it has been extremely valuable in helping them spot the signs, and providing the appropriate support to pupils who may need it at an early stage.”

Comments/Feedback from Practitioners

P&K Newly Qualified Teacher – “An excellent programme. Very useful for my practice – I will take away many ideas /actions for my class. My confidence is higher after attending the programme.”

Angus Primary – “The session encouraged me to reflect on my teaching practice and the pupils in my care. It provided me with suggestions of how to encourage communication with pupils.”

Dundee Primary – “Good advice on recognising children’s behavioural changes – I feel more prepared on how to talk/listen to children who are not coping.”

Dundee Secondary – “Really interesting and important key messages – this should be a mandatory session for all those in the school, all staff.”

Perth Primary – “Thought provoking training with clear messages on where we can make a difference.”

Perth Secondary – “Very informative, good to know that there’s plenty we can be doing to help the pupils who may be at risk of mental health problems. Feeling much more confident now!”

School Nursing – “The continued support from the Innovation team is and will positively impact outcomes for children and young people within NHS Tayside school nursing.”

For further information, please email camhsinnfund.tayside@nhs.net

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