Mental Health Support Team (MHST) - City and Hackney

Service details

Who are we? 

The Mental Health Support Team (MHST) is an NHS early intervention and prevention services which is part of the WAMHS (Well-being and Mental Health in Schools) programme

The WAMHS program focuses on training and support for school staff and developing a culture and ethos in schools to help the well-being of the whole school community. 

The MHST supports the WAMHS programme in developing whole-school approaches to mental health and well-being by delivering whole class student workshops and parent workshops. The MHST focuses on delivering direct input to children, young people, parents and caregivers to help improve young people’s emotional wellbeing. 

MHST is made up of :

  • Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs)
  • Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) Practitioners
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Clinical Team Leads
  • Communications officer/Senior Administrator and administrator

What do we do? 

Here is a video explianing more about how the service works. 

We run workshops and small groups about mental health and related issues for children, young people and their parents, carers and school staff. 

We keep any group work to small groups so that everyone participating feels comfortable.

This work helps:

  • increase mental health awareness.  
  • reduce stigma around mental health
  • improves emotional well-being

MHST Universal Workshops and groups available for all parents, carers and young people 

These groups and workshops take place throughout the academic year. The offer changes in response to feedback and suggestions from parents, carers and young people but popular previous topics have been: 

  • Supporting child’s school attendance 
  • Supporting teen’s school attendance 
  • Supporting autistic child’s school attendance 
  • Managing behaviour that challenges 
  • Managing child anxiety 
  • Managing teen anxiety 
  • Introduction to mindfulness  
  • Drifting off to sleep for young people
  • Supporting child’s transition to secondary 
  • Supporting autistic child’s transition to secondary 
  • Mindful parenting group
  • Tree of Life group for parents. These sessions use the metaphor of the Tree of Life and questions to encourage individuals to tell stories that empower them and to hear stories of hope, strength and shared values, as well as encouraging community connectedness.  (The Tree of Life designed by Ncube (2006) in Zimbabwe)

Please follow this link to MHST eventbrite page for the latest information on our workshops for parents

Targeted Support

Targeted support offers evidence-based interventions for parents and carers or young people with identified mental health difficulties. 

MHST's Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs)

The MHST's Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) offer workshops and targeted focused evidence-based support to young people who are experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with their emotional well-being that might best be managed within a school setting. These interventions are delivered:

  • individually
  • as groups of young people
  • to their parents/carers alone or with their children. 

Examples of mild mental health difficulties that the team can support with:

  • Initial presentation of challenging behaviour
  • New emerging; mild anxiety/low mood symptoms
  • Normal response to grief
  • Friendship difficulties/exam stress

Examples of moderate mental health difficulties that the team can support with: 

  • Low mood or anxiety symptoms
  • Panic attacks
  • Social difficulties / Relationship difficulties

Specialist CAMHS Practitioners provide supervision to EMHPs and offer specialist mental health interventions in schools.

Individual or Group Interventions for parents

The following individual or group parent interventions are provided in primary schools and can be offered in person, online or over the phone:

  • Guided self-help Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for child anxiety
  • Guided self-help for child behaviours that challenge
  • Individual or group interventions for young people

The following interventions for young people are provided face to face in secondary schools:

  • Guided self-help Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for anxiety
  • Guided self-help Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for low mood

What is guided self-help? 

This is where you work through a self-help workbook or computer course with the support of a therapist. The main aim of Guided Self Help is to support you in learning how to make positive changes, to your behaviour and to how you interact with your thoughts, in a way that helps you feel better.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT? 

CBT is an evidence-based effective treatment for helping people tackle problems such as anxiety and or depression. The key idea behind CBT is that what you THINK and DO affects the way you FEEL emotionally and physically and vice versa. 

CBT can help you to change how you interact with your thoughts (‘cognitive’) and how you react in different situations (‘behaviour’) to alleviate unpleasant symptoms.


The Silvercloud computerised CBT programme offers focussed modules which can be completed online. These programmes are for parents or caregivers who are supporting an anxious child or teenager. Parents can sign up themselves by using the Self Sign Up Link Pathway

Young people can get access to this programme through their school's Designated Mental Health Lead. You can speak with the school SENCO if you are not sure who this is. 

Find out what’s in the Silvercloud programme for Primary Schools here and Secondary Schools here

The MHST offer to parents, children and young people to support the transition to secondary

For Young People

We offer Transition Groups and workshops in primary and secondary schools. These support young people making the transition from primary to secondary school. The groups and workshops create spaces for young people with SEND to raise and explore worries or concerns about this significant change. 

For parents and caregivers 

We offer parent workshops to support with the transition from primary to secondary school, including specific sessions for parents of autistic children for whom the change of routine may be more anxiety provoking. 

How can I find out when the parent workshops are available? 

The MHST are in regular contact with schools and parents via a newsletter. Schools are informed about workshops and will circulate this information to parents whose children are at this stage of their education.

Parents can also check the MHST Eventbrite page here for upcoming workshops.  

What if I have a query about the MHST not addresses by this information? 

We hope this information gives you a good overview of the purpose of the service and support offered by the MHST. The service has produced leaflets for parents and carers and for young people whcih are linked to below. 

If you are a parent or caregiver or a young person or staff member and you would like to make contact with the team please ask your (your child’s) school if they are currently working with WAMHS and MHST. The schools involved in this programme will have a Designated Mental Health Lead and they will help you connect with the right person. 


SEND Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
Primary 4 -10
Secondary 11-14
Preparing for Adulthood 14-18
Parents and Carers
SEN Provision Type
  • Universal
  • Targeted

Other details

Who is eligible?

Parents and young people can access the universal offer via school or by signing up for workshops. 

Young people can access support from their settings Education Mental Health Practitioner by asking their form tutor, head of your or schools SENCo to make a referral. 

If you are 18 years or older and attend a college in Hackney you can still attend workshops that the MHST offer.  

Eligibility criteria for targeted support from Education Mental Health Practitioners:

  • Young person is aged 5-18
  • Young person attends a City & Hackney primary school, secondary school or college
  • The young person is experiencing mild to moderate behaviour difficulties (primary school only- under 8), 
  • The young person is experiencing mild to moderate anxiety (Primary & Secondary) or low mood (Secondary only)

If you are 18 years or older and attend a college in Hackney you can still attend workshops that the MHST offer.  

Children and young people who WOULD NOT be eligible for MHST

  • A child under 5 who attends nursery school
  • A young person aged 18 who has left their Year 13 education provider   
  • The problem requiring support would be best treated in an alternative service e.g. young people with more complex difficulties that would be referred to CAMHS.

  • Young people who are currently open to social care or other CAMHS services.

  • Children or young people who present with difficulties not suitable for MHST interventions and require more specialist input. 

  • Young people who presents with risk behaviours such as self-harm or suicidal ideation. 

If your are a child or young person (or their parent) and are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact the City and Hackney mental health crisis line on 0800 073 0006

You can also access our service by attending the A&E (Accident and Emergency) department at the Homerton University Hospital which is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

If a child is out of school due to heightened anxiety please refer to Hackney’s EBSA (Emotional Based School Avoidance) Guidance here.

Older young people who are not eligible for MHST can still get support and self -refer (with support from parents if needed) to Off Centre (for ages 16-25)  or Talk Changes for those age 18 or older. 

Referral Details

Parents and carers

If you are a parent or carer and your child attends a state-maintained school in City & Hackney it is likely that they are already or will have been part of the WAMHS programme since September 2020. You can find out more by asking your school directly and getting in touch with the school’s Designated Mental Health Lead who can link you in with our service. 


MHST referrals and queries from practitioners and school staff can be directed to

If you are a professional and have a query you can contact Deborah Kemp, Clinical Team Lead email

We aim to respond within 5 working days. 

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