MP announces new mental support for schools and colleges in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire will be one of the first areas to benefit from a new kind of mental health provision, designed to support children and young people with mild to moderate mental health conditions, by working alongside schools and colleges. This will include a new four-week wait time limit as standard, ensuing quick access to support.  

On Thursday 3rd January, Richard Harrington MP confirms that two new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST), first of their kind, will be set up in Hertfordshire, thanks to extra Government funding.

Mr Harrington had been pushing for Hertfordshire to be included in the first wave of funding, after the launch of the Government’s Green Paper “Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health” last year.

The Teams will be located in or near schools so that they can provide ongoing support for staff and students. Schools will also be encouraged to train a Designated Lead for Mental Health through providing free, high-quality training, currently being developed by the Department for Education.

The new Mental Health Support Teams will be largely comprised of a brand new workforce of “Education Mental Health Practitioners”, and supervised by experienced NHS staff from the children’s mental health workforce. These teams will be paid for as part of the £20.5bn extra funding being put into the NHS.

They will provide face to face, evidence based interventions and work with the designated mental health leads in schools and colleges to ensure mental health and wellbeing is being supported as part of a ‘whole school’ approach.

Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, said:

“We know that 50% of adult mental health problems have started by the age of 14. But, for too long there hasn’t been enough focus on mental healthcare in this country, but that is changing.

I’ve been told by teachers that, in many instances, they can be the first to spot signs of possible mental health conditions. That’s why we need to be able to work with schools and colleges, to deliver a much more joined up approach to mental healthcare. 

Thanks to this extra Government funding, children and young people in Watford will soon be able to access the right care, without going through a lengthy referral process.

Two new Mental Health Support Teams will be set up in our area, designed to work alongside schools and colleges, to identify possible mental health conditions early on and ensure that children and young people are getting the care and compassion they deserve.”