Healthy Minds project rolled out to more Sheffield schools

Sheffield Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will be working with an additional 45 Sheffield schools from September 2017 as part of the Healthy Minds project.

Healthy Minds works with schools to help them to support young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. It was developed by Sheffield CAMHS working with ten pilot schools and has been recognised nationally as an example of good practice.

Key activities offered within Healthy Minds are:

  • Training for all school staff on the fundamentals of young people’s mental health and the implications for learning.
  • A Healthy Minds survey to be offered to students, parents/carers and staff to understand the specific needs of an individual school.
  • Developing an action plan for each school based on its Healthy Minds survey. This will cover further training needs, development of PSHE materials or school protocols to further support young people’s emotional wellbeing.
  • Engage student voice through the development of Healthy Minds champions.
  • Provide clarity for staff, students and parents about who they can talk to if they are worried about a young person’s mental health.
  • Further development of the Epic Friends website for secondary students
  • Specialist mental health training for key staff in schools.
  • Mental health consultation with key staff in schools.

How were the participating schools chosen? Participating schools were chosen through an application process. Schools were assessed on their ability to engage and weighted for need. The 45 schools for 2017-18 are across the city, in all seven localities of schools.

How will the project be rolled out to the schools not currently taking part? The project is being rolled out in a phased approach, with 40 new schools taking part per academic year. A phased approach has been taken to allow us to make changes to the Healthy Minds approach as we learn what works and what doesn’t. Commissioners from Sheffield CCG and Sheffield City Council are currently working with staff from Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, to consider how the Healthy Minds approach could be developed to support children and young people who are in special schools.

Will this project address bullying in any way? Every school taking part in Healthy Minds has a needs assessment as part of the project, as the Healthy Minds activity is bespoke to a school’s needs. If an issue such as bullying is highlighted in the needs assessment, the Healthy Minds activity undertaken by CAMHS in the school will take this into account.

Will there be any SEND-specific work, e.g. supporting students with autism and high anxiety? Again, this is dependent on the needs assessment of the school and whether this is identified as an issue or not. It’s important to note that Healthy Minds is focused on improving a school’s culture and capacity to support emotional wellbeing and mental health, rather than providing direct 1-1 support for children and young people. The aim of the project is to enable schools to support emotional wellbeing and mental health issues that do not require a CAMHS referral. The support provided by CAMHS helps schools to know whether the issue requires onward referral. If a child is identified as needing additional emotional wellbeing and mental health support in a Healthy Minds school, the CAMHS worker in the school can provide advice, and support to the school to make a referral to the appropriate service.

Will each school have a Healthy Minds lead? All Healthy Minds schools are required to nominate a member of staff to be the Healthy Minds lead for that school. This lead provides a point of contact for CAMHS and helps coordinate Healthy Minds activity in the school.

For further information and the full list of schools who are currently involved, please visit the Learn Sheffield website.