Our response to the government's announcement for mental health support workers for schools

Mental Health Foundation Director Isabella Goldie said:

"We welcome the government’s commitment to adopting a whole-school approach to improving children and young people's mental health and creating a stepped-care system with pathways through and up from early help to more specialist support.

"Given the high levels of mental distress among children and young people, it will be important that the new Mental Health Support workers should be able to support children and young people to build their own personal resources, and support their self-care, alongside assessing/managing risk and appropriate referral.

"The value of peer support should also be recognised. This is proving increasingly acceptable and effective for children and young people and should be core to the approaches that the teams and the schools develop.

"Having Designated Senior Leadership is crucial, but we also know the dangers of investing all responsibility for a key issue in one individual.  We hope the Leads will be cascading their training to other staff, enabling them to build psychologically safe/informed environments. The Leads themselves will need to be supported, and to be updated as the evidence-base evolves.

"We hope the trailblazers locations will not only be in areas which are already well-sighted on children and young people's mental health, but will also provide learning on how to build this capacity and response in areas starting from a low base.  It’s vital that these new ways of working must benefit all children, with a particular focus on those who are most vulnerable to developing mental health problems."

For further information please contact Richard Grange at rgrange@mentalhealth.org.uk or on 07716178114.