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Somerset Clinical Commissioning working in partnership with Somerset County Council, Somerset Partnership NHS Trust and Young Somerset is deploying two new teams to boost children’s mental health as part of its programme of support for children and schools available in the county.

The initiative has been developed after the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset County Council won £400,000 in Government trailblazer funding through the Fit for my Future partnership.

Our partners include Somerset Partnership Trust, Young Somerset, Taunton Deane Partnership College, Tor School, Public Health and Somerset County Council’s Education service.

The new Mental Health Support Teams are working in the Taunton and Mendip areas offering direct support to children and young people with mild to moderate mental health issues. They are made up of staff from across health, education and the voluntary sector and begin taking referrals from this February 2020.

The CCG in partnership with Council, Somerset Partnership NHS Trust and Young Somerset is bidding for Government money to fund a wider roll-out of teams in Somerset. A decision is expected by September this year.

Public Health is also about to launch the new 2020 Somerset Children and Young People Survey (SCYPS) and will encourage all schools and colleges to take part.

The survey, first run in 2014, has helped schools gain invaluable insight into children and young people’s experiences of life, both in and outside school.

It has also given Public Health and the County Council’s Children’s Services the chance to find out what young people think about a broad range of health-related issues including questions about resilience, emotional health and wellbeing.

Schools are also being given training and guidance on delivering the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education programme that becomes statutory in September 2020. Schools will be required to teach about mental health and resilience as well as delivering good quality relationships education.

In all, 92 schools in Somerset have signed up to the Somerset Wellbeing Framework to help support them in a whole school approach to emotional and mental health.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Lead member for Children’s Services at Somerset County Council, said: “It is widely recognised that a child’s emotional health and wellbeing influences their development, learning, and their physical and social health.

“It is so good to see the number of schools that are joining the Somerset Wellbeing Framework which supports schools to continue the good work they already do, but with the added support of online tools to record and monitor progress, support from the Council’s Public Health Team and from partner organisations.”

Dr Peter Bagshaw, GP and mental health clinical lead for Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This will make a real difference to the lives of young people across Somerset. We know that many children and young people face significant pressure in their lives. It is good to see health, education and the voluntary sector working together to improve their health and wellbeing. Making more emotional and wellbeing support available to children and young people at the earliest possible opportunity will support them to live healthy, independent lives as adults.”