Successful schools mental health programme set to continue

23 May 2019

An innovative partnership enhancing mental health support for young people in East Cheshire schools will continue for at least another 2 years.

The Emotionally Healthy Schools programme has been bringing together colleagues from health, education and the voluntary sector to support schools throughout the area since 2015 in their efforts to improve emotional and mental health for young people and their families. It has now won the contract to continue until at least 2021.

Led by CWP and delivered in partnership with local charities Visyon, Just Drop In, Clasp, and Kooth, as well as lead school Middlewich High School, the programme provides all schools in East Cheshire with free access to:

  • The Emotionally Healthy Schools Links Team, supporting school staff with direct mental health training and consultation.
  • The School Lead Team, demonstrating best practice and shared learning between schools across the footprint
  • Tools for schools, providing dedicated resources and tools to schools around the topic of mental health, resilience and emotional wellbeing

Sheena Cumiskey, Chief Executive at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), said: “I’m delighted that the Emotionally Healthy Schools programme will continue to support mental health and wellbeing for young people in East Cheshire. Local partners working hand in hand with schools is a big part of the NHS Long Term Plan and it’s wonderful to see this approach improve experiences and outcomes for young people and their families.”

Since launch, the programme has been improving school staff skills in responding to incidents or concerns around self-harm, including the introduction of a dedicated self-harm pathway to ensure vulnerable young people can access the best support to meet their needs. While the programme’s peer education initiative gives young people the skills and knowledge to safeguard their own – and their classmates’ – emotional wellbeing.

Last year Emotionally Healthy Schools was highly commended at both the national Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards and the Local Government Chronicle Awards.

Ali Stathers-Tracey, Acting Director of Prevention and Early Help at Cheshire East Council said:  “Young people’s emotional health and wellbeing is a priority for us, as we know that half of all lifetime mental health conditions develop by the age of 14 years and affects up to 1 in 4 people.

“We’ve listened to young people and families and want to ensure a more joined-up offer for mental health access and information. Our aim is to build on the success of the Emotionally Healthy Schools project with more information available online and working closer with the health service, schools and the community.

“I welcome this new contract that will provide children, young people and their parents a single point of access to information, advice and guidance.”

Clare Holmes, Assistant Headteacher at Middlewich High School, said: “Middlewich High School is proud to continue to be the lead school for this programme and to support this vital work; building on previous successes and further enhancing the work done with schools during the previous contracts. This new contract will enable schools to develop closer relationships with local health and voluntary services. I welcome the progression to a more joined up approach to mental health service provision, with clear pathways of support for schools, young people and their families.”

Ann Wright, Chief Executive at Just Drop-In, said: “Just Drop-In welcomes the joined up approach to young people’s emotional well-being in Cheshire East and is pleased to be able to continue to work alongside partners to deliver quality services designed support children and young people to have happier and healthier lives”

Jane Henry, Service Development Manager at Visyon, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue offering schools our innovative prevention work, to improve the wellbeing of children and young people across Cheshire East.  It’s vital that we shift our efforts ‘up stream’ and invest in creating environments which are conducive to good mental health.  With limited resources to tackle mental health problems at a later stage, the saying that ‘Prevention is better than cure’ has never been more relevant.”

Find out more about Emotional Healthy Schools

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