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Free School Checks



Radio Bristol


12.01.17 Parliamentary submission



Response to Theresa May



PRESS RELEASE –  Embargoed until 00.01am Tuesday 26 September 2017


Free Emotional Wellbeing Checks for Bristol Primary Schools as government-funded research confirms surge in childhood mental health problems


From October, Bridge in Schools (BiS) is offering Free Emotional Wellbeing Checks to Bristol Primary Schools.


“Public spending cuts are increasing stress on families, while stripping out vital emotional and psychological support for vulnerable children. Schools are in the front line. As mental health specialists, we have to do everything we can to help them meet the challenge.” (Dr. Emily Ryan, Manager, Bridge in Schools)


The Bridge in Schools offer comes as concerns mount nationally about the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. In the last few days government-funded research by the University College London and University of Liverpool confirmed that 24% of girls and 9% of boys are reporting depression aged 14[1]. This follows an increase in numbers of children in primary schools with emotional problems.


In Bristol, the Local Authority estimates that in 2014 there were at least 2390 children aged 5-11 with diagnosable mental health disorders in the City[2]. On current data, 70% of Bristol children and adolescents with mental health problems will not have had an appropriate intervention at a sufficiently early age.[3] 


Bridge in Schools are leading experts in child development and wellbeing, and have supported Bristol schools for over 10 years. It is part of the Bridge Foundation, a Bristol charity formed by mental health specialists 33 years ago, to increase access to mental health expertise in the local community.



Senior Leadership staff in Bristol Primaries can now book an hour with a BiS clinician, to access specialist expertise in the wellbeing issues confronting their school.


The BiS specialist will meet staff in school to identify priorities across the whole school, clarify budget pressures, and then provide a report that signposts options.


To book an appointment, schools should contact Dr. Emily Ryan, Programme Manager, Bridge in Schools, 13 Sydenham Road, Bristol BS6 5SH. Email: 0117 942 4510. Twitter: #BridgeWellbeing


For interview, comment and further information, contact Dr. Emily Ryan (details above).




[2] Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Report 2015, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, Bristol City Council

[3] Public Health England. (2015). Early adolescence: Applying All Our Health. Retrieved from publications/early-adolescence-applying-all-our-health/ early-adolescence-applying-all-our-health [Accessed 08/07/16].




See below for background information


Emotional Wellbeing and Attainment for All

The Bridge in Schools is part of the Bridge Foundation, a leading mental health charity based in Bristol that has provided high-quality mental health services to the community for over 30 years.

Bridge in Schools helps schools

· Build calm settled environments where children can learn

· Help children to be safe and develop resilience

· Take effective action to bring down staff stress and build a robust coherent team

· Support the emotional needs of especially vulnerable children with effective in-school interventions


Stressed and unhappy children struggle to learn. As attainment concerns rise, Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health are now top challenges for schools across the country.

The BiS programme is designed to equip school staff with the tools they need to meet these challenges.


Bridge in Schools has a 10 year track record of work with Bristol schools. The charity has staff based one day a week in 8 local schools – two of them chosen recently to be part of a 10-school Local Authority pilot to support mental health programmes in school.

BiS staff are highly trained specialists in child mental health. They combine advanced therapeutic training with a thorough understanding of schools and the pressures they face. Consequently, they are uniquely placed to work with schools at a number of different levels: through a whole school approach to emotional wellbeing; targeted interventions for more vulnerable children; and therapy for children with complex needs.


Every school is different; and everyone is dealing with tough pressure on budgets. Bridge in Schools helps schools work out what are the top priorities for action, and signposts affordable options.


The approach is effective because it works across all levels of the school Emotional Wellbeing programme.

· Whole school emotional wellbeing programmes

· Early identification of vulnerable children and young people

· Effective staff support and classroom strategies

· Specialist therapeutic support to highly vulnerable children and families

· Professional referral reports



Mental Health Fact Sheet


Mental health is a big issue for young people…

  • 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly 3 children in every classroom (i)

  • 1 in 5 young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder (ii)

  • Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24 (iii)

  • Almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health (including anxiety and depression) (iv)

  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age (v)

  • 1 in 12 young people self-harm at some point in their lives, though there is evidence that this could be a lot higher. Girls are more likely to self-harm than boys. (vi)

It has a big impact in adulthood…

  • Women who had experienced one childhood adversity had a 66% increased risk of premature death, and those who had experienced two or more adversities had an 80% increased risk compared to their peers (vii)

  • 1 in 3 adult mental health conditions relate directly to adverse childhood experiences (viii)

Young people need more support…

  • 3 in 4 children with a diagnosable mental health condition do not get access to the support that they need (ix)

  • The average maximum waiting time for a first appointment with CAMHS is 6 months and nearly 10 months until the start of treatment (x)

  • CAMHS are turning away nearly a quarter (23%) of children referred to them for treatment by concerned parents, GPs, teachers and others (xi)

  • Just 0.7% of the NHS budget is spent on children’s mental health (xii) and only 16% of this is spent on early intervention (xiii)

  • The cost to the economy of all-age mental health problems is estimated at £105 billion a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS (xiv)


i. Green H et al (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

ii. Green H et al (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

iii. Kessler RC et al. (2005). ‘Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication’.

iv. ONS (2016) Selected Children’s Well-being Measures by Country: 3 CentreForum (2016) Commission on Child

v. Wolfe et al (2014, Why children die: death in infants, children and young people in the UK).

vi. Brooks, F. et al. (2015) HBSC England National Report 2014. University of Hertfordshire; Hatfield, UK.

vii. KellyIrving, M., Lepage, B., Dedieu, D., Bartley, M., Blane, D., Grosclaude, P., Lang, T., Delpierre, C. (2013) ‘Adverse childhood experiences and premature allcause mortality’ European Journal of Epidemiology 28(9): 721 734.

viii. Kessler, R. (2010) ‘Childhood adversities and adult psychopathology in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys’ British Journal of Psychiatry 197(5): 378–385.

ix. Green H et al (2005) Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

x. Frith, E. (2016) CentreForum Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health: State of the Nation

xi. Frith, E. (2016) CentreForum Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health: State of the Nation


xiii. Frith, E. (2016) CentreForum Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health: State of the Nation



Dr. Emily Ryan

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Team Manager

Bridge in Schools

Tel: 0117 942 4510 (office)

Mob: 07948 530644


My office days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I work in school on a Friday.


The Bridge Foundation,

13 Sydenham Road, Bristol BS6 5SH





The Bridge Foundation for Psychotherapy and the Arts 2015         Registered Charity No. 1073759