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Mental health support in schools should leave no child behind

24 September 2019

The British Psychological Society has called on the government to commit to reaching every single child in England with its proposed new Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs), and to make sure that psychological support in schools doesn’t become a postcode lottery.

The government has so far only committed to ‘at least a fifth to a quarter’ of areas being covered by MHSTs by 2022/23, and unless this is extended further there is a risk that the level of support a young person can access will depend on where they live.

A further roll-out of MHSTs across England will require up to 8,000 new members of mental health staff to be appointed, significantly increasing the size of the workforce providing psychological care to children and young people.

We welcome the new members of the psychological workforce, but it’s vital that they have the support and the expert supervision needed to do their jobs effectively.

They need to work alongside school staff, other experts and young people themselves, with increased co-production meaning that mental health in schools is seen as everyone’s responsibility.

These are some of the 10 recommendations made in our new briefing paper Mental Health Support Teams: How to maximise the impact of the new workforce for children and young people.

The briefing paper is being launched today at a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, where representatives from the Society will be meeting with politicians to discuss the future of psychological wellbeing in our schools.

It draws on the knowledge and experience of our Expert Reference Group on Children and Young People’s Mental Health, made up of psychologists who work with children, parents, teachers and their local communities and services.

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