A pilot scheme offering earlier in-school mental health support to year six pupils will be trialled in schools across Wrexham.
The ‘In-Reach to Schools’ programme will see dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) practitioners from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board work directly with school staff in Wrexham and Denbighshire to strengthen the specialist support teachers, children and young people receive.
By offering earlier in-school mental health support, it is hoped the innovative programme will help prevent more serious problems from occurring later in life.
As part of the initiative practitioners will provide teachers with training, help and advice, ensuring pupils experiencing difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, and self-harm or conduct disorders receive early help in schools from suitably trained staff, preventing more serious problems occurring later in life.
Teachers in school across both Wrexham and Denbighshire will also be trained in ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’ to ensure they are able to react appropriately to pupils who are experiencing mental health problems.
The ‘In-Reach to Schools’ pilot programme, which is also being delivered in Ceredigion and South East Wales, is part of a £1.4m Welsh Government investment to strengthen the support from specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to schools.
It forms part of wider multi-agency efforts to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young adults amid a steep rise in referrals to CAMHS services across Wales.
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day (Wednesday 10th October) will focus on ‘Young people and mental health in a changing world’.
In addition, schools will be supported to develop mental wellbeing strategies aimed at teachers, pupils and families which use the Five Ways to Wellbeing as a foundation.
Research shows that focusing on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which encourage people to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give, can boost personal wellbeing.
Andrew Gralton, assistant director for children’s services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “This is a great opportunity for the health and school systems to work together to ensure that we can improve the experience and knowledge on all sides, the child and young person, the school team and the health board.”
The pilot programme will cover year 6 pupils upwards across all schools in Denbighshire and Wrexham.