Lancaster University has been awarded a £300,000 contract by Lancashire County Council (LCC) to continue to provide mental health training and support for schools across the county.
The Lancashire Emotional Health in Schools Service (LEHSS) aims to raise awareness of children’s mental health problems and to help staff to provide more support to pupils who are experiencing difficulties with stress, mood or emotions.
A Lancashire teacher said: “The training from LEHSS has made a massive difference to the school that I work in. It’s helped us have a better approach to mental health across school, it has increased awareness of mental health among pupils and staff, and also given us tools to help pupils cope better.”
LEHSS has been funded by LCC for four years to date, and has so far worked with over 70% of the secondary schools in the county.
Last year, LEHSS delivered 40 training sessions to school staff, with 650 people attending these sessions.
The training is delivered by clinical psychologists working at the university who have experience of working in children’s mental health services.
The service will also deliver workshops to pupils and parents to help them better understand mental health and how to improve well-being.
Dr Richard Slinger, LEHSS Head of Service, said: “Our aim is for as many young people as possible in Lancashire to get support and advice around their mental health. We want to do this by helping school staff to feel more skilled and confident in providing advice and support to their pupils, and by providing advice directly to children themselves.
“We know that teaching is a busy and difficult job, and teaching and helping children who are themselves worried, stressed or upset can be part of what makes it difficult. We hope that through our work we can make a difference for both children and their teachers.”
Evaluations of the training to date have been very positive, with 100% of attendees reporting that their knowledge of children’s mental health improved, as did their confidence in being able to support pupils with their wellbeing.
The new contract is for two years, and the council has increased the funding to £148,000 per year to expand the remit and team working with primary schools and colleges, to deliver more training directly to pupils and parents, and to support the wellbeing of school staff as well as pupils.