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NHS England - Mental Health Support Teams (from 2020)

MHSTs in Wiltshire

Wiltshire along (with B&NES) has been working as a trailblazer site for the delivery of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) since January 2020. 

NHS England has allocated three teams for Wiltshire, which will support most of the primary, secondary, special schools and colleges in 3 clusters of approximately 8000 children: Trowbridge and Westbury, Devizes and Salisbury, Chippenham and Wootton Bassett.

The schools and colleges in these areas, receiving additional support from these teams, have been contacted with further details.   

What are MHSTs?

The MHSTs, which are jointly delivered with the Department for Education, develop models of early intervention on mild to moderate mental health and emotional wellbeing issues, such as anxiety, behavioural difficulties or friendship issues, as well as providing help to staff within school and college settings. 

This resource of additional staff comes directly into schools and colleges to support pupil mental health and wellbeing. It is additional support for education settings.

MHSTs will trial a four-week waiting time for access to young people’s mental health services, building on the expansion of services already underway.

What will the practitioners do? 

The Education Mental Health Practitioners have undertaken training, provided by Exeter University, in Bristol  since January 2020. They get to know their schools before being ready to begin delivering interventions in school.   

The practitioners will complement and work alongside existing mental health support and will provide:

  • individual face to face work e.g. to address anxiety, low mood, friendship and behavioural difficulties
  • group work e.g. to address self harm and anxiety
  • group parenting classes e.g. to address conduct disorder, communication difficulties
  • support Senior MH Lead to develop a whole-school approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health 
  • timely advice to help children and young people get the right help and stay in school, using an integrated referral system

What will participating schools have to do?

  • Provide a named contact to engage with the MHST
  • Raise awareness of the service among staff, pupils, parents and governors   
  • Integrate the new practitioner into the staff team  
  • Host the practitioner in their school or college, allocating them space to work 
  • Identify pupils who may need support 

Key contacts 

Alexander Driver is the project leader, from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. 

Further information and useful links

Information on MHSTs from NHS England 

Wiltshire CAMHS and MHST

Briefing on MHSTs from the British Psychological Society 

Guide for schools hosting an EMHP