Mental Health Support Team position statement around COVID-19 (31/03/20)
Given the current government guidance around COVID-19, this is the updated Mental Health Support Team (MHST) position statement.
The wellbeing of MHST staff and school staff, children and young people and their families is paramount. The MHST is a consent-based, non-statutory service for children, young people and their families with mild to moderate mental health difficulties.
At this time, as long as MHST staff are well and able to continue to work:
- The MHST will not be carrying out face to face visits either at schools or to homes;
- MHST workers will remain in weekly contact with their existing clients via text or telephone calls if clients wish and where staff are fit and well;
- The MHST mailbox and online referral system continue to be monitored. If we receive any referrals in the next three weeks, the triage coordinator will contact the referrer and/or parent for further information and we will consider whether the MHST will be able to offer support;
- Given the current waiting list for MHST support, and that we are unable to offer face to face contact at this time, it is unlikely that we will be able to offer support for new referrals until the next academic year;
- We are unable to monitor the MHST telephone line (0118 937 6548) at the current time;
- Children, young people and their families who have already been accepted onto the MHST waiting list will remain there. Once schools re-open, MHST workers will resume face to face contact with their existing clients. When they are able to begin work with new clients, MHST staff will contact those at the top of the waiting list.
For information about supporting children and young people’s mental health in response to COVID19, please see the government guidance at the link below:
Further local information, support and advice on coronavirus can be found at:
For urgent support with a child or young person’s mental health please contact your GP, or CAMHS on 0300 365 1234.
For safeguarding concerns about a child or young person, please contact CSPoA on 0118 937 3641 (office hours) or 01344 786543 (out of hours).
This position statement was updated w/c 20.04.2020 and will be next reviewed w/c 11.05.2020.
Mental Health Support Team Introduction
Brighter Futures for Children and Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust are launched the new Mental Health Support Team (MHST) in January 2020. We would like to take this opportunity to provide some information about this exciting new project.
The MHST will support children and young people with emerging, mild or moderate mental health difficulties which may be affecting day to day life. The project is for those pupils on roll at 15 schools in West Reading.
Depending on the age of the child or young person, we may work either directly with them or with their parents. We also work with school staff and offer support on different levels; with the aim of developing and supporting a whole school approach to mental health.
The team consists of:
- Senior Educational Psychologists
- Primary Mental Health Workers
- A Specialist CAMHS practitioner
- An Outreach worker
- Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs)
Our service is only available to children and young people who attend or are on roll at one of the following schools with emerging or mild to moderate emotional and mental health needs
- Blessed Hugh Faringdon
- The Wren
- Cranbury College
- English Martyrs
- Meadow Park
- Oxford Road
- Park Lane
- St Michaels
We deliver a range of evidence-based interventions focused on mild to moderate anxiety, low mood and behaviour management.
This may include interventions such as:
- Overcoming Your Child’s Fears and Worries programme: an individual guided self-help intervention for parents of anxious children aged 12 and under
- Webster-Stratton Incredible Years: an individual guided self-help parenting intervention for parents of primary aged pupils
- worry management for children experiencing anxiety (Year 6 and above)
- graded exposure (facing feared situations step by step) for children with phobias and other anxiety difficulties (Year 6 and above)
- support for young people to explore and develop helpful coping strategies specific to improving low mood (Year 6 and above)
The MHST also offers support to school staff by:
- delivering training on various mental health topics
- offering consultations (individual or group) where staff can think through their concerns or difficulties regarding students or class groups
- working with staff to support students individually
- supporting staff wellbeing
Our service is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
If pupils are experiencing moderate to severe difficulties, where symptoms are having a significant impact on their daily life, requiring more help you can refer to your local CAMHS/visit your GP.
For more urgent support, please phone urgent / out of hours support 0300 365 1234.
Young people under 16 years old
Parent/Guardians can use the online referral form at www.brighterfuturesforchildren.org/MHST-referral-form.
Parent/Guardians can speak to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or Senior Mental Health Lead (SMHL) at school and they will complete a simple referral form with you.
Young people can also speak to a member of school staff, School Nurse, their GP or any other professional who works with them who could support them with completing a referral.
Young people who are 16 years or over and on roll of a project school
Can self-refer www.brighterfuturesforchildren.org/MHST-referral-form.
Or as above the referral can be supported with consent from the young person.
When referrals are received they go through a triage process to explore how your needs can be best met. We may contact you if we need more information.
If the referral is accepted, an MHST practitioner will be in contact to let you know. Depending on demand for our service, there may be a waiting list.
Once an MHST practitioner has been allocated, they will contact you and school to arrange a visit and an initial assessment to explore with you what intervention we may be able to offer.
If we are unable to offer you a service, we would discuss other options with you and look to signpost you to other services that may be able to meet your needs.
- The Reading Services Guide provides additional resources and information about how to access further support.
- The Samaritans offer advice on how to help someone you're worried about open up about their feelings. www.samaritans.org/shush
- For parents of children at primary school: This leaflet provides simple advice and guidance to parents and carers about how to make conversations about their child's feelings part of everyday conversation.
You’re never too young to talk mental health - Anna Freud
- For parents of young people at secondary school: The teenage years are both exciting and challenging to parent and carers. It can be hard to know whether your child's feelings and behaviour are normal or becoming a problem. This leaflet provides simple advice and guidance to parents and carers about how to make conversations about their teenager's feelings part of everyday conversation.
Talking mental health with young people at secondary school - Anna Freud
Telephone: 0118 937 6548