New £400k funding for mental health service to support children and young people in Somerset schools and colleges

The work of Fit for my Future, Somerset’s integrated health and care strategy, is already paying dividends. Health, care and education services in Somerset have worked together with partners, schools, young people and parents to secure £400k of trailblazer funding, it was announced today.

 The funding will help to create two pilot mental health support in school teams covering east and west of the county, giving almost 16,000 children and young people extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

 Mental health support teams will work with schools, children and young people and their parents with the aim of ensuring they are well equipped to have healthy and honest conversations about emotional wellbeing – as well as connecting them to local services.

The trailblazer mental health support teams will offer both one to one support and group treatment sessions for children and young people and, where needed, provide referrals to specialist children and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS). This supports the Somerset Wellbeing Framework, our ‘whole school approach’ to wellbeing and mental health

Dr Alex Murray, clinical lead for Fit for my Future and, until recently, mental health clinical lead for Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, welcomed the news. She said: “We know that many children and young people face significant pressure in their lives. By making more emotional and wellbeing support available to them at the earliest possible opportunity, we can do to help them stay healthy and well throughout their lives. Fit for my Future has recognised the importance of giving the right help and support to people at the earliest possible stage.

 “This new initiative is very exciting, and will make a huge difference to the lives of young people across Somerset. By strengthening the links between schools and mental health services we can ensure children, parents and teachers know how and when to access vital support at the right time for young people.”

Somerset has been awarded over £1 million to deliver on this support over three years (to 2021/22).