Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing
Plymstock School is engaged in a three-year Plymouth-wide project that aims to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of young people. This will be done by building a positive mental health culture, together with workforce development and training. It also aims to provide young people with early help to try and avoid crisis, working together as a system; communicating, pooling resources and using the correct services for our young people.
As a school we already do a huge amount to support our students. However, working with external agencies is not always straightforward. With all the agencies now involved, we should hopefully see referral times and early help more readily available. However, it will take time for the new initiatives to embed.
The agencies involved with this project are…
• Plymouth City Council
• The Zone
• Young Devon
• CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Services)
• Xenzone (Kooth online)
• Livewell Southwest
Young Devon are offering us five hours of free counselling per week. We will be operating a referral system for this service. It will be for students aged 11-18. Students will be able to have initial assessment and then a seven further sessions (1 hour each). If they require further help we would look at extending the time period. If a student needs to access this service outside of school hours there is an option for this.
If this is something which you feel could be beneficial to your son/daughter you will need to contact their Head of Year or our Mental Health Lead, and the referral and assessment process will be initiated. Students will be assessed based on the perception of urgency and presentation of risk.
Kooth is an online counselling/support service for Young People. This was founded in 2001 and is based in Manchester and is now being rolled out in the South West. The service is available 365 days a year. Counsellors are available Monday to Friday 12:00pm to 10:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 6:00pm to 10:00pm. The idea behind Kooth is firstly, to allow students access to counselling who, may have historically been put off by talking on a face to face basis with an adult and secondly, to try and alleviate waiting times for a referral to local counselling agencies. Students don’t have to access the online counselling they can just use the site to access the forums, self-help tools etc. The idea is to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health by allowing students a platform to have an open and honest conversation with people and to seek help without worrying about people’s perceptions.
All counsellors are fully trained and registered with the BACP and DBS checked. In terms of the content of counselling sessions if a counsellor becomes concerned about the students safety it gets flagged and elevated to their safeguarding officer. The young person will be asked to give their identity, so if necessary, safeguarding referrals can be made to Children’s Services and the Police. Their experience is that if a young person is talking to them they generally want help and will be willing to give them details to enable the counsellors to support them. However, they cannot force a young person to disclose their identity. All forums and content are moderated so it is a safe environment for young people.
Students will be made aware the support available through the assembly programme.
This service will be for 16-18 year olds (this can include Year 11 students). Livewell Southwest will come into school and run workshops on various topics ranging from managing anxiety to improving sleep. This will be every half a term and will be for up to 20 students. Heads of Year 11, 12 and 13 will be kept updated on the sessions available so students can be made aware of what support is available for them. Again, if you feel your son/daughter would benefit from these workshops please contact their Head of Year or our School Mental Health Lead.
CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service)
A Primary Mental Health worker from CAMHS will be coming into school on a weekly basis so the pastoral team can ask for advice and guidance on the most appropriate source of support for the more complex mental health issues. We will also be able to ask for quicker triangulation consultations and assessments – this will hopefully, overtime, reduce the waiting time for CAMHS support. CAMHS will also be able to deliver workshops on various topics. There will also be a series of workshops which will be on a needs led basis, so if Heads of Year or staff are noticing areas of particular concern we can arrange for workshops for specific groups of students/year groups.
If your GP has suggested a CAMHS referral please let your son/daughter’s Head of Year or the school’s Mental Health Lead know as we may be able to reduce the waiting time for an initial assessment by arranging for the Primary Mental Health Worker to see them or meet with you when they are visiting the school.
Plymstock School’s Mental Health Lead is Beckie Littler and she can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org