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Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week - meet Amy, Team Leader for Broxbourne’s MHSTs...

08 Feb 22

Amy is the Team Leader for Broxbourne’s Mental Health Support Team in Schools (MHSTs). Based at Hailey Hall SEMH School in Hertford, the team currently works with 20 schools across the Broxbourne district, providing lower-level interventions for school staff, children, young people and their parents and carers at an earlier stage, aiming to prevent any emotional health problems from escalating.

After completing a post-graduate course to become a qualified Child Wellbeing Practitioner in 2017, Amy’s new Team Leader role varies each day, with a mixture of team management and case work duties, as well as supervising her trainees.

Amy said: “Our levels of referrals are at full capacity, with each team member providing three sessions daily, once a week at each of their schools. This can be a combination of one-to-one and group sessions. One of our team members is providing “Brain Buddies” sessions, benefiting six groups of 30 children a week (180 in total), by teaching them invaluable emotional regulation skills.  

“Our lovely team of staff are always supportive and level-headed, as well as being highly resilient to the challenges of the pandemic. They are always adaptable to the constant changes happening, as we continue developing and improving our new service. We want to make sure that we continue responding to the specific needs of young people in our schools at the right time.

“We are working hard to support young people to build their resilience and coping skills, with a particular focus on the rise in problems associated with their body image, worries around transitioning to secondary school and their friendship groups. It feels a bit like we’re riding an emotional wave with our young people, but it’s a fantastic career and highly satisfying to receive such positive feedback from school staff, parents, carers and of course – our children and young people.

Below is a selection of some of the feedback received…

Service User feedback

“I felt really safe and comfortable during the service. Whenever I needed (Broxbourne MHST staff member), she was there for me. When we did have our appointments, she always made me laugh and made me feel better about a situation and made me see the brighter side which I think is really important.”

“My daughter had a lot of options to help deal with her emotions and learn different ways with how to cope with things. Also, how to rationalise with her thoughts to see if it actually true or not.”

“Not only were they helping my daughter, but they also helped me. I can’t thank you enough.”

“I enjoyed STEP 4 - I liked the song and can remember the steps. I like coming to the group – it’s fun!”

School Staff feedback

“Impact on pupils who have worked with (Broxbourne MHST team member) has been fantastic. Ensuring parents are involved also means that they are a key part of the process.”

“Ability on students to deal with emotions, or giving students confidence to ask for help, referrals to higher level support. Staff are helped as they know the children and young people are getting support.”

MHSTs are already working closely with many schools in St Albans, Broxbourne, Harlow, Stevenage and Watford. In addition, the new MHST for children with special educational needs (SEN), is working with some SEN schools in Hertfordshire and West Essex and is the first of its kind in the UK.

The next areas to benefit from MHSTs will be Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere, hosted by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) and in Epping, hosted by Mind in West Essex. Next year, new teams will be established in Dacorum, North Herts and Three Rivers, also hosted by HPFT and in Uttlesford, hosted by Mind in West Essex.

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