Children, young people, their families, and school staff in Norfolk and Waveney are to benefit from two further dedicated Mental Health Support Teams working with their schools.
The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership (formerly known as the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) has been granted funding for two additional Mental Health Support Teams which will be based in South Norfolk and Lowestoft. These will be in addition to teams that started in January this year in North Norfolk and King’s Lynn.
Each team will work with approximately 20 schools (8000 pupils) across a range of education settings, with a focus on children and young people with mild to moderate mental health issues.
Funded by the Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care, the teams will complement the work already happening in schools, providing a range of support such as talking therapy and group support, as well as staff consultation and help for parents.
The teams in Lowestoft and South Norfolk are expected to start in January 2021 and will be fully operational in January 2022.
Norfolk and Waveney is seeking to transform mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people, with a focus on earlier help and community-based support and enablement.
The approach to growing and developing support is in line with the NHS Long Term Plan which commits to funding new Mental Health Support Teams working in schools and colleges, providing extra capacity and expertise for early intervention and ongoing help.
Sara Tough, Executive Director for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council and STP lead for children and young people, said: “We know that children’s mental health can impact on every aspect of their lives – their education, relationships, and their physical health.
“We want to get help to children and young people as early as possible so that their needs do not escalate and they can enjoy a happy and healthy childhood. Getting more support into schools is key to this and is extremely timely when we consider the likely impact of the current pandemic on children’s emotional well-being.”
Alan Cadzow, Director of Children’s Services at Suffolk County Council, said: “I am really pleased that children and young people in Waveney will benefit from the work of this new mental health team. The team will strengthen the existing services we have in schools and provide extra capacity for early intervention which we know is vital for children and young people who need mental health and wellbeing support.”
Rebecca Hulme, Associate Director of Children, Young People, and Maternity for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The announcement of this funding is really great news. We are working hard to improve mental health and wellbeing support for our children and young people. We know that a lot of young people are feeling under pressure and the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is likely to compound the stresses and anxieties many are already feeling.
“These teams are going to be supporting Norfolk and Waveney’s children and young people in their educational communities; working with schools and colleges to develop a ‘whole school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing, enabling our children and young people to be healthy, resilient and successful now and in the future.
“This funding will build on the partnership work already underway through the CCG, Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, Norfolk and Waveney Children and Young People’s Alliance and other key local partners.”