A service which offers additional mental health support to children and young people in Reading is expanding to cover more than double the number of schools in the borough.

Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) launched the Mental Health Support Team (MHST) to 16 schools in west Reading as part of an innovative trailblazer project in January 2020.

The scheme is now being expanded to a further 20 schools in south and central Reading.

BFfC is working in partnership with the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB), which is funding the project, to form the expanded MHST. It is part of a Reading-wide systemic approach to improving mental health for children and young people.

The MHST supports children and young people, and their families, with emerging, mild or moderate mental health needs, focusing particularly on low mood, anxiety and behaviour. The aim is to help prevent more serious problems developing.

The expanded service complements mental health support already provided in schools and by existing professionals and services, such as school-based counsellors, educational psychologists, school nurses, primary mental health workers, school pastoral care teams, educational welfare officers, voluntary sector organisations and Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) services.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “The expansion of services we offer to Reading schools is both valuable and critical, post-pandemic, in addressing the increase in children and young people’s mental health needs.

“I would like to thank our health service colleagues for their support which has helped us more than double the number of schools whose pupils will now be able to access the service.”

Dr Heather Howells, GP and Mental Health lead for BOB ICB, said: “We know the last few years, particularly during the pandemic, have been tough for young people’s mental wellbeing and the Mental Health Support Team have been providing a vital service to schools in Reading, helping young people cope with mental health difficulties.

 “I’m so pleased, through BOB ICB funding, we are now able to increase the number of schools the MHST supports, enabling more young people to access important mental health services.” 

 Cllr Ruth McEwan, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education and Public Health, said: “I am delighted to see the important service provided by the Mental Health Support Team being made available to more school pupils across Reading.

 “It’s tragic that we’ve seen such an increase in children and young people struggling with their mental health nationally. It’s crucial services like this that can have a direct positive impact on the wellbeing of our young people in Reading.”

Information about what the MHST can offer and how to access the service, along with leaflets for children, young people and parents/carers, are available on the BFfC website at: https://brighterfuturesforchildren.org/MHST


  • The expanded MHST will support the following 20 schools in the south and centre of Reading: John Madejski Academy, Maiden Erlegh Reading, Reading Girls, UTC Reading, Reading College (16 – 18), Alfred Sutton, Christ the King, Coley, Geoffrey Field Infant, Geoffrey Field Junior, Green Park Village, Katesgrove, New Christ Church, Palmer Academy, Redlands, Ridgeway, St Marys and All Saints, Whitley Park, Hamilton School and Holy Brook.