What is WAMHS?
The Wellbeing and Mental Health in Schools (WAMHS) project is an initiative led by the CAMHS Alliance with the support of the Children and Young People’s Integrated Commissioning work stream in City & Hackney.
This innovative service aims to improve mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people in schools, colleges, specialist and alternative provision education settings in City & Hackney.
The WAMHS project started with a one year pilot phase in September 2018 and was initially piloted for 15 months in 50% of state maintained schools in City & Hackney (39 schools participated in the pilot phase).
The impact of the pilot phase was evaluated by Public Health City and Hackney, and the results of the evaluation were used to support extending the offer to remaining eligible schools in both boroughs.
In September 2019 the Universal WAMHS Offer was approved by the commissioning board and a further 30 schools became part of the WAMHS project.
From April 2020 there will be 69 schools out of the total 80 in City & Hackney who will be part of the WAMHS project
Mental Health Support Teams
Also in September 2019, City & Hackney became a Trailblazer site for a new initiative from the Government Green Paper on children & young people’s mental health.
Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs), under senior supervision, will be able to offer focussed evidence based support to young people and their parents/carers when young people are experiencing difficulties with their emotional wellbeing that might best be managed within a school setting.
The MHST will work with groups of young people, parents, and where it might be helpful, with parents alone or with their children.
MHSTs will work with the first phase (2018-2019 participating settings) of WAMHS schools this year, with a possible roll out to second phase WAMHS schools at a future time.
Why did we start WAMHS?
Schools were reporting higher numbers of students experiencing difficulties managing their emotions, making the most of their learning and life opportunities at school and coping with the stresses of life both in and out of school.
Research shows that positive health and education outcomes are closely related. School staff may be one of the first to notice emerging mental health difficulties. In its recent Green Paper the Government stressed the importance of schools and mental health services working more closely together to make sure that children and young people’s wellbeing is supported, and that those who need help with their mental health are able to get it when they need it.
The WAMHS Project supports schools to nurture an environment where children and young people can learn about all areas of life. WAMHS focusses on building academic, social and emotional resilience and coping skills in students and helping them to identify and access additional support if needed. The project is also based on further developing knowledge and skills in education staff so that they are more confident and feel more able to support students, and their families, who may be experiencing mental health difficulties.
How is WAMHS set up?
Schools and education settings in City and Hackney participating in the WAMHS project have:
• A senior member of school staff as their Designated Mental Health Lead coordinating mental health and emotional wellbeing in the school.
• A Wellbeing Framework Partner, a senior, skilled education professional from Hackney Learning Trust who supports each school to review their current wellbeing and mental health provision and develop an action plan across a number of areas to improve the support systems for mental health and wellbeing in school.
• An allocated CAMHS Worker in School (CWIS), a specialist mental health practitioner from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The role of the allocated CAMHS Worker in Schools is to provide expert knowledge and support for the school which may include:
- Attending regular planning meetings in schools to support holistic thinking around student wellbeing, mental health and need
- Provide training to increase staff awareness and knowledge in the early identification and support of students’ mental health difficulties
- Supporting the development of skills in managing the impact these difficulties can have in a school setting
- Consultation to support further understanding of need in students and advise and support schools’ staff in how best to respond to student need
- Whilst the CWIS will not be providing ongoing individual mental health support to students, they will support involvement with appropriate external services so schools feel confident in referring students if needed and if agreed with the student’s parent/carer.
Where can I get more information about WAMHS?
If you are a parent and your child attends a state maintained school in City & Hackney it is likely that they are already or will be part of the WAMHS project from 2020.
You can find out more by asking your school directly and getting in touch with the school’s Designated Mental Health Lead.
If you are a professional you can contact the WAMHS management team with you query and we will aim to respond within 5 working days: at firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated: 10/01/20