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Helping Children with their Mental Health in Schools

Posted 3rd February 2021

#childrensmentalhealthweek

There is much in the news at the moment about children and young people’s mental health, and the impact, both immediate and long-term, of the global pandemic on this. Recent research suggests that one in six young people will develop a mental illness (1). This recent NHS study estimates that children’s mental health problems are 50% higher than before the pandemic.

Such figures are extremely worrying, and it is clear that access to timely therapeutic intervention is necessary in order to combat the scale of problems being faced by children and young people. At the Bridge Foundation,  we recognise that often the easiest way for children and young people to access therapy quickly, and as early as possible, is by therapy taking place in the school or educational establishment they are in. At the Bridge in Schools service, we have two ways of tackling this. One is through partnership work with schools, where a school will commit to an amount of time (from half a day to three, in some cases) for a Bridge in Schools Child Therapist to be based in school providing a specialist mental health service in-house, that can comprise a combination of individual therapy, family work, parent or staff consultation, supervision, training and contribution to whole-school thinking on mental wellbeing.

The other service we offer is the Brief Intervention service. This is a way for schools to access high quality therapy on a case by case basis, which means the process can be fast-tracked,  and families in need can be seen without lengthy waiting times.  The service can provide work of varying lengths and for different purposes, according to the needs of the school and family. This could mean arranging an assessment to get a clearer picture of a young person’s state of mind and support needs; a school-based therapeutic intervention for a child or parent; contributing to professional reports and applications, for example EHCP plans or CAMHS referrals; to support schools with holding measures while referrals are being processed; to help parents and schools better understand the support needs of a child and to facilitate joined-up thinking.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to pick out which child might need support or what kind of support a school might need, when faced with the high levels of need we are seeing in this difficult and challenging time. We welcome the opportunity to talk through issues with you and to support you in finding the right intervention for the right child. We have a highly qualified and highly skilled team of clinicians who have supported children and families across a number of schools in Bristol. During the pandemic and lockdown, we are continuing to deliver high-quality therapy in a mixed model of online and face-to-face therapy, according to our own risk assessment, that of the school, and the needs of the young person.

Please contact info@bridgefoundation.org.uk for further information. We look forward to hearing from you.

  1. https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/10/nhs-encourages-children-and-young-people-to-seek-help-as-new-data-shows-rise-in-mental-health-problems/