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More mental health support for young people in schools in Morecambe Bay

More young people in Morecambe Bay who are struggling with their mental health and emotional wellbeing are set to benefit from a new support team based in their school.

The announcement comes during Anti-Bullying Week (14-18 November) which this year encourages everyone to come together and reach out to stop others bullying.

The new mental health support team (MHST), which will cover secondary schools in Lancaster and parts of South Cumbria, will support schools to provide safe and supportive environments to encourage pupils to reach out and unite against bullying.

Ruth Threlfall, children and young people and maternity commissioning support manager at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (the organisation that plans and buys health services in the region), said: “We are absolutely delighted to have another mental health support team in the Morecambe Bay area. Now more than ever, supporting our young people with their emotional and mental wellbeing is just so important.

“By offering this support we will help pupils to get the best out of their education and reduce the chance of them developing more serious mental health issues in later in life.”

The MHSTs are provided by Barnardo’s and this is the third to be introduced in Morecambe Bay. The first two teams, which went live in 2020, cover Morecambe, Heysham and Barrow and offer support in various education settings including primary and secondary schools and colleges.

When the first two teams were introduced, school children came together to give the teams a new name – Moving Mindsets.

The teams support those who are experiencing emotional or wellbeing issues such as low-level anxiety, low mood, or friendship or behavioural difficulties, to ensure they don’t escalate to more serious mental health issues.

They work with pupils either face to face or in groups. They also give advice to school staff and parents to help children get the right support and remain in education. Where necessary, the teams will work alongside specialist services.

The new Moving Mindsets team is undertaking a year of training, including casework within some schools, before it will become fully operational by October 2023.

Emma Akrigg, children’s service manager at Barnardo’s, said: “It’s fantastic that we’re able to expand the Moving Mindsets mental health support teams in Morecambe Bay. The children, young people, parent/carers and education settings we work with have provided positive feedback about the service and the MHST programme nationally.

‘’We’re also seeing strong evidence of positive outcomes for the children and young people we support, which is essentially what we hope to achieve.”

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