A pilot scheme to to help young people with their mental health in school is being launched.

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust is expanding its work with schools to help children and young people.

Sam Tyrer, engagement and prevention lead for the Trust, has secured funding from Health Education England (HEE) to carry out a pilot scheme – Change Talks ‘train the trainer’.

Sam explains: “I launched Change Talks four years ago, I wanted to go into schools and have open conversations about the issues facing young people, from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and bullying.

“I am open with them about having my own mental health struggles in the past; I find this helps to destigmatise the issue and encourages young people to feel safe about sharing their own concerns.

“We are now just launching a ‘train the trainer’ program which allows me to give teachers all the knowledge they need to have these conversations.

“As we move forward, all schools will need a mental health lead, as part of the government’s ‘whole school’ approach.

"My work with help schools develop their staff into this role.”

The pilot scheme will see teachers given the information they will need to help pupils as well as each school being allocated an ‘education mental health practitioner’ who will have a weekly presence in the school.

These practitioners will, in addition to scheduled interventions, be present in schools to walk the floors, and to become a known, trusted and recognised face that encourages talking about mental health.

Chief executive of the trust, Caroline Donovan added: “The presence of mental health support teams in schools will provide an opportunity to create a school environment that encourages young people to be more open to talking about their mental health, will tackle the stigma of mental health issues, and provide a positive presence within the school to both support and inform wellbeing for young people.

“In the Lancashire and South Cumbria healthcare system, we are delighted to be awarded the required investment to support the further development of mental health support teams locally.”

The trust has seen a 15 per cent increase in community demand across all our services over the past 18 months, with particular focus on eating disorders.