Over 600 young people supported in 2020 thanks to our new school-based mental health service

23 November 2021

Our Mental Health Support Team (MHST) in Wirral supported more than 600 young people struggling with their mental health during its first year of operation in 2020.

The MHST, delivered by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, launched in January 2020 and works with 53 primary schools across Wirral to provide direct mental health support.

The service aims to promote the early detection and prevention of mental health problems in young people, and strengthen links between schools and local mental health services.

School staff can directly refer pupils to the MHST for support with problems like anxiety, depression and behavioural difficulties. Where young people require specialist support, MHST practitioners can make referrals for pupils to other local services, such as child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

MHST practitioners also deliver training and consultation to school staff, adopting a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Wirral MHST has published a report summarising activity, outcomes and patient experience from its first year of operation. The report aimed to determine whether the MHST had met its primary objectives – to improve the provision of early mental health support for young people and to improve outcomes for those young people accessing the service.

The report found that during 2020, the MHST received 631 referrals for pupils from the 53 MHST schools. Eighty-nine per cent of these received direct support from the MHST and the remaining 11 per cent were signposted on to other services, or supported directly by the school where appropriate.

The report also found that the MHST made 1,334 contacts with young people and families in total, and of these, 448 were face-to-face, 661 were by telephone, and 225 were online. Anxiety was the most common reason for referral, with over half of pupils referred to the team for anxiety and many of these cases attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Encouragingly, the evaluation found that young people, parents and carers who set self-defined goals achieved clinically significant change and that the service had met both of its initial objectives.

You can view an infographic which summarises the report’s key findings below.

To find out more about Wirral MHST, visit:

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