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Pupils in Wiltshire to have faster access to mental health support

July 12, 2019 8:03 PM
By WC (edited)

More students will have access to specially trained mental health practitioners thanks to government funding for a new programme.

Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group successfully bid to be part of NHS England's Mental Health Support Team (MHST) Trailblazer programme.

The programme is already being implemented in Swindon and has been successfully rolled out in a number of other areas across the country. Now pupils across B&NES and Wiltshire will benefit from the second wave once the scheme starts in January 2020.

The scheme will see MHSTs working directly in selected schools and colleges across the region by providing on-site access to early mental health support.

The teams will provide early intervention for mild to moderate mental health issues, such as exam stress, low mood or friendship difficulties as well as providing support to staff. They will also act as a link with local specialist children and young people's mental health services ensuring, if appropriate, that pupils can access more intensive support.

The funding for the scheme comes as recent public engagement driven by local health and care organisations has found that young people would prioritise better and faster access to mental health services.

One in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood. This package of measures is part of the Government's plan to improve mental health support for children and young people, including identifying mental health issues before they become more acute.

Mental health problems in young people are caused in part by government policies including educational pressures and cuts to youth support services.

Lucy Baker, Acting Commissioning Director for Maternity, Children and Mental Health at Wiltshire CCG said:

"It's fantastic news that we've received funding for this important scheme. We know children, young people, their parents, supporters and carers want to be able to access mental health services quickly and easily and the Trailblazer scheme is a significant step forward in enabling that to happen."