PUPILS at schools across East Lancashire are to receive specialist mental health support thanks to a new grant worth £2.88 million a year.

The money has been given to the Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The cash from NHS England will pay for Mental Health Support Teams to tackle mild to moderate mental health issues and support young people and school staff to identify potential signs of mental distress before they escalate.

Last year, Blackburn with Darwen CCG won a grant for a ‘trailblazer’ scheme to test the initiative and now the project has been extended to Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

The teams will provide one to one and group therapy for mild to moderate mental health issues, give timely advice to school and college staff, as well as liaise with specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education.

Dr Aliya Bhat, a Hyndburn GP and paediatrics lead at East Lancashire CCG, said: “We are absolutely delighted we have been successful in our latest bid for funding to support young people suffering with poor mental health within East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen. Offering more support to young people in schools at a much earlier stage will help them to achieve the best educational outcomes and reduce the chance of them developing more serious mental health issues in later in life.”