Mental health support services for children and young people in Nottingham are set to reach double the number of educational settings, thanks to £1m of extra national funding.

Children and young people have been significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic, with an increase in those suffering with mental health issues. The Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) were established in Nottingham City in February 2020, providing an early intervention and preventative service for over 892 children and young people and their families so far. This includes providing support for anxiety, low mood and behavioural difficulties, as well as running over 200 workshops to groups of children within educational settings, on themes such as transition, resilience and wellbeing, general wellbeing hacks, worry and distractions and emotions through puberty.

Currently MHST are supporting children and young people in 46 educational settings, which will increase over the next 18 months to around 100 sites across the city.  The expansion is being funded through £1.01m from NHS England and Health Education England as part of a national initiative.

Cllr Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children & Young People, said: “I’m so pleased that the support offered by MHST is being expanded and that additional children and young people in Nottingham will have access to early intervention. 

“It is vital that children and young people are able to access the help that they need in a timely manner to ensure that they thrive in education and the collaboration between health and education in working to achieve this is a positive one.”

The expansion of the MHST programme coincides with the launch of a new logo, following a design competition among children and young people last year, with three entries combined to create the final logo.  One of the winning entrants, Erin Reed, has shared her thoughts on why she entered and why support within schools is important.

She said: “The competition was mentioned on one of school’s weekly power points in lockdown and I had recently got into doing digital art. I thought it would be a good way to have an excuse to do more art because sometimes I lacked motivation to do it, and I thought it would be nice to see something I had created on a website.

“Mental health affects everyone and it is as essential to a person’s wellbeing as physical health.  It can often be overlooked or dismissed as being a lesser concern.  I think it is important that information about mental health can be widely spread and available for everyone.

“Having access in schools would really help a lot of people and making this available to younger age groups would help prevent some levels of stigmatism surrounding mental health issues.  Later in life these people would be less afraid to access these services.”

The announcement comes as the city marks Nottingham Mental Health Awareness Weeks (October 11-22) with a varied programme of activities from a range of partners.  This aims to raise awareness of mental health issues, creating a safe space for people to talk about and explore living with a mental health condition, as well as joining in a wide range of activities to boost wellbeing from sport to music and enjoying the great outdoors. Full details of the event programme can be found here:

For more information about MHST or to check which educational settings are currently being supported please visit AskLion, where referrals to access support can also be made.