Agenda item

Mental Health Awareness Promoted in Schools Pilot


The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities, which provided Members with information on the forthcoming Mental Health Awareness Promoted in School (MHAPS) pilot to be delivered in Warrington.


The Board was advised that the Joint Health and Children, Young People and Families PPB Mental Health Scrutiny Topic Group had been particularly interested in the pilot, as young people were increasingly vulnerable to social pressures and at risk of developing poor mental health. Although the pilot was being undertaken in Warrington, it was anticipated that it would be rolled out across the rest of the 5 Boroughs footprint during the second half of 2014.


The Board was further advised that the pilot’s foundations had developed from a general lack of awareness regarding mental health issues amongst secondary school aged pupils; the perceived stigma that was associated with mental illness; the lack of understanding about what services were available and how pupils could seek support. A short film ‘You’re not alone’, based around the day in the life of a young person with Mental Health problems, produced by Investing in Children Group from Halton Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) had also been produced. 


It was reported that Thomas Boteler High School in  Warrington had been selected for the initial pilot. The reason for this school being chosen was that CAMHS had an established link with the school through a well-being worker at the school who would be able to offer support to the pilot.


        It was also reported that the Pilot will be trialled across Year 9 pupils and consist of each pupil attending at least one dedicated lesson within the Health, Physical and Social Education curriculum which would address mental health stigma and awareness raising.  It was anticipated that the pilot would be undertaken between February – May 2014. The pilot would be evaluated by pre and post session questionnaires, and would be overseen by CAMHS clinical and operational management.


        Ms Hannah Smith, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and an ex CAMHS service user attended the meeting to inform the Members of her personal experience and explain how the pilot would operate.


        The following comments arose from the discussion:-


·                   It was noted that the pilot was for Year 9 pupils and the information/participation would be kept as simple as possible.  It was anticipated that there would be a celebrity exercise on ‘How life goes on’; a scenario exercise on how to deal with mental health; a fact or fiction quiz; a mental health word search and a self help booklet which contained links to various relevant websites would be given to individuals;


·                   Clarity was sought on whether cyber bullying would be addressed.  In reply, it was reported that this issue would not be directly addressed but information on how to deal with cyber bullying would be available through the links, i.e videos and stories available for pupils to access to help them deal with the situation;


·                   It was noted that generally it was more difficult for boys than girls to engage and to open up and discuss their problems.  The Board wished Hannah every success with the pilot and congratulated her on her courage and enthusiasm; and


·                   It was reported that it was hoped that the project would eventually be extended to Colleges and Members indicated that they looked forward to receiving the project in Halton.


        RESOLVED: That


(1)        The report be noted:


(2)        The comments raised be sent to the Pilot Co-ordinator for consideration; and


(3)        Hannah Smith be thanked for her informative verbal presentation and excellent work to date.

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