Sheffield schools get cash to improve pupils’ mental health

King Ecgbert's headteacher Lesley Bowes
King Ecgbert's headteacher Lesley Bowes
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Schools across Sheffield taking part in a multi-million pound pilot scheme to improve pupils’ mental health and emotional well-being.

Mental health champions will be tried out in 10 Sheffield schools taking part to tackle stress-related illnesses such as, depression, eating disorders and self-harm.

Now the Department for Education, working with NHS England, has earmarked £3.2 million of funding for 22 pilot areas to help promote the emotional health wellbeing of pupils.

Sheffield Council and the city’s children and adolescent mental health services are working with Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and 10 primary and secondary schools.

The programme will raise awareness and improve knowledge of mental health issues among school staff while also improving understanding of specific mental health and well-being issues within schools.

Each school will work with a mental health clinician to see how to best support young people’s mental health.

Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families said: “Studies show one in 10 young people will suffer from some form of mental health concern in their adolescence – and we cannot ignore statistics like this.

“This means we need to put measures in place to deal with mental health issues in children before they become more seriousness and much more difficult to deal with later in life.”

Dr Karen O’Connor, from NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This project will enable us to strengthen relationships between schools and mental health services and improve our early intervention work.”

Lesley Bowes, head of King Ecgbert, one of the pilot schools, said: “Schools are seeing a changing need for pupils in terms of access to mental health professionals.

“So it is great for us to be working with our partners in Sheffield to develop stronger and better links to access mental health services and for us to get a better understanding of needs, so we can help our young people.”

Secondary schools taking part are Tapton, Forge Valley, King Ecgbert and Newfield.

Primary schools taking part are Wisewood Community, Nether Edge, Totley, Valley Park, Lydgate Juniors and Netherthorpe.

Schools, with the help of parents, will complete mental health audits.