Logo - Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation TrustMental Health Support Team LogoBrighter Futures for Children is delighted to be part of an innovative trailblazer project in Reading offering additional mental health services to children and young people.

The official launch of the Mental Health Support Team (MHST) takes place on Thursday, 30 January, 1.30-3pm at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School, Fawley Road, Reading RG30 3EP.

The aim is to support children and young with mental health and wellbeing needs who may not reach the threshold to be a diagnosable mental health disorder.

The MHST is part of a Reading-wide systemic approach to improving mental health for children and young people. Brighter Futures for Children is working in partnership with the NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, which is funding the project, to form the MHST.

The MHST will offer low intensity interventions to support children and young people (and their families) who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems, focusing particularly on low mood, anxiety and behavioural difficulties. The aim is to help prevent more serious problems developing.

‘This is a great initiative and one we wouldn’t have been able to do without the full support of the CCG,’ said Brighter Futures for Children’s managing director Tony Kildare. ‘The mental wellbeing of all children and young people is very important to us and we hope others in the ONE Reading Partnership will also support us with the delivery of this important area of work.’

Cathy Winfield, Chief Officer for Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We’re delighted to be part of this project and to be working with partners to help improve the mental wellbeing of children and young people.”

The MHST, which is initially being launched across schools in West Reading, complements existing mental health support already provided in schools and by existing professionals and services, such as school-based counsellors, educational psychologists, school nurses, school pastoral care teams, educational welfare officers, voluntary sector organisations and CAMH services.

Leaflets and posters will be distributed across schools included in the pilot project, which will tell pupils and staff how to access the service. An additional offer is an online form which children and young people can fill in and send in themselves. This will be placed on Brighter Futures for Children’s website (www.brighterfuturesforchildren.org/MHST-referral-form) and on the Local Offer on the Reading Services Guide.

At the launch on 30 January, a group of students from Blessed Hugh Faringdon will perform their own drama production to highlight the issues around mental health as they perceive them.

They will then lead a Q & A session after this to share their experiences and thoughts around mental health and invite questions.

Senior leaders from Brighter Futures for Children, Reading Borough Council and the NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group will be at the event to introduce the initiative and join in the Q&A session.