A mental health support service which works in Reading schools has been rated good or above by almost 100% of its users.

The Mental Health Support Team (MHST), run by Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC), operates in 36 schools in south, west and central Reading.

An annual feedback report for the team showed that 98% of respondents rated their experience of working with the MHST as good or above, while 88% rated it as very good or excellent.

Feedback was received from 272 people, compared with 50 last year, and the majority came from young people who had used the service.

When asked to rate their overall experience of working with the MHST, 93% or respondents rated it between 4 – 5, out of 5.

There were also touching comments from young people, parents and school staff.

One young person said: “It 100% met my needs. Our sessions felt like a conversation – we talked through things together and I felt heard, understood and respected.”

Another said: “The best part of working with MHST was writing a story every week and sharing feelings in our sessions. I am going to carry on sharing my feelings with other people more now.”

The MHST was launched in 16 schools in west Reading in January 2020 as part of an innovative trailblazer project. It was expanded to a further 20 schools in south and central Reading in September 2022.

The team 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 MHST is funded by Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire West Integrated Care Board and complements mental health support already provided in schools and by existing professionals and services in Reading.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “You can receive no better praise than hearing such positive comments from the young people you work with.

“I am so delighted that our Mental Health Support Team is having such an impact in the schools they work in.

“It is brilliant that the MHST and school staff are working so closely together to help children and young people in Reading receive essential support for their mental health and wellbeing needs.”

Cllr Ruth McEwan, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education and Public Health, said: “We know that children and young people nationally are struggling more with mental health issues, so services such as the Mental Health Support Team are vital.

“It is excellent that we have professionals in schools to help children with issues such as anxiety before they develop into anything more serious.

“The feedback report clearly demonstrates that the MHST is making a big difference for children and young people in Reading, as well as their families and school colleagues.”

You can view the report and find out more about the MHST at: https://brighterfuturesforchildren.org/for-parents-carers/mental-health-support-team/.