Children and young people in Norfolk, are to benefit from new dedicated mental health support teams in their schools.

The Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) has successfully bid to trailblaze the new national scheme, providing therapy and support to hundreds of primary, secondary and special school children.

The STP is a partnership of NHS and county councils, working together to improve health and care for local people.

They will initially commission two pilots, in King’s Lynn and North Norfolk, with each supporting children with mild to moderate mental health needs, across 40 schools.

Funded by the Department for Education and Department of Health, the teams will provide talking therapy and group support and consultation and supervision for staff.

The successful bid comes as Norfolk and Waveney STP looks to transform mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people, with a focus on earlier help and community-based support and enablement. It has published a new strategy to improve services and also a briefing note on the STP Website:

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.

“That’s why we want to transform services so that we can get help to children and young people earlier, in their schools and communities where they are comfortable and feel supported.

“These new mental health teams will be a huge asset in developing that approach, by not only providing direct support to children and young people but helping both parents and school staff to understand what is happening for their children and how they can help.”
Rebecca Hulme, Associate Director of Children, Young People and Maternity for the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and Waveney, said: “We’ve listened to what children and young people, their families and carers tell us is important in supporting their wellbeing, as well as look at both local and national evidence into the best approach of providing access into mental health support in schools.”

“We understand that mental health issues are a significant contributor to children and young people being absent from school, and impacts on their wellbeing and relationships. Giving young people access to a range of opportunities to, like talking therapies, one-to-one and group-based support, in school is an important step in working together to address their needs.”

Norfolk and Waveney STP has been awarded £360,000 per team per year and is hoping in the longer term to create teams across the area.

The first two teams will launch in January 2020 and will be made up of Education Mental Health Practitioners, Senior Therapists, a manager and support staff.