Pupils in two North Wales counties are to be given earlier in-school mental health support as part of an innovative programme aimed at preventing more serious problems from occurring later in life.
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.
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.
The two year 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. The pilot programme will cover year 6 pupils upwards across all schools in Denbighshire and Wrexham.
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 In-Reach programme will cover year 6 pupils upwards across all schools in Denbighshire and Wrexham and see teachers trained in ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’ to ensure they are able to react appropriately to pupils who are experiencing mental health problems.
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.”