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Trio of dedicated mental health teams to work with youngsters in schools

PUBLISHED: 05:30 09 August 2019

The new teams will work alongside existing mental health support services for youngsters in school  Picture: NHS

The new teams will work alongside existing mental health support services for youngsters in school Picture: NHS

Three mental health teams are set to be created which will go into schools and offer mental health support, thanks to a £2million cash boost.

Dr Ed Garratt. Picture: IPSWICH AND EAST SUFFOLK AND WEST SUFFOLK CCGS/BEN CARMICHAELDr Ed Garratt. Picture: IPSWICH AND EAST SUFFOLK AND WEST SUFFOLK CCGS/BEN CARMICHAEL

Suffolk and North East Essex is one of six "trailblazer" regions to be given the cash, which will be used to establish three teams that will work with youngsters in schools.

According to project chiefs, the mental health support teams (MHSTs) will carry out interventions in schools for those with mild and moderate mental health needs, alongside established services such as counselling, school nurses and psychologists.

They will also develop mental health plans for schools and provide advice and liaison between schools and other external services.

Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer for West Suffolk, North East Essex and Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: "This funding is excellent news and really will help us to ensure young people across the area have access to help and support if they are in need.

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"Mental health issues can significantly affect young people and can adversely impact their life and their health if correct and timely support is not available to them.

"By having these teams in place, we will be helping those young people to have access to help they need and deserve."

The West Suffolk MHST will work across 27 schools to support up to 8,399 youngsters, the East Suffolk team in 23 schools for around 6,000 youngsters and the North East Essex team will serve around 7,800 pupils across 17 schools.

Those teams are now being set up with the aim of being fully functional by January 2020.

Michelle Grant Richardson, mental health programme manager for the Integrated Care System, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to shift the dial through high quality early intervention for children, young people and their families.

"To be awarded three teams is fantastic and our broader ambition is to double the number of MHSTs in Suffolk and North East Essex.

"We have already identified a number of schools, including pupil referral units and special schools to take part in the next phase."

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