Local NHS Services and Surrey County Council are working together to introduce new Mental Health Support Teams to schools and colleges in three Surrey boroughs that have been identified as needing the most support.

Three new teams are being created in Spelthorne, Surrey Heath and Epsom and Ewell to provide early emotional support to students. This will help to address mental health concerns such as low mood and anxiety which impact the lives of many children and their families. The teams will be working alongside existing services to help children get the right support including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), counselling, educational psychologists, school nurses, GPs and voluntary sector organisations. They will also be working with schools to develop a whole school approach to emotional health and wellbeing in line with Surrey’s Healthy Schools programme which applies evidence based practice promoting positive physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

Dr Rebecca Scarth, Principal Clinical Psychologist and Early Intervention lead with Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding from the government to establish Mental Health Support Teams for those areas of Surrey with the greatest need. They will build on the support already available so more children and young people can get help when they first start experiencing emotional problems. With a visible presence in schools, the teams will be able to guide teachers and other school staff so they are better equipped to support young people. All of this fantastic work will help our adults of tomorrow to be more resilient and mentally healthy.”

The application for funding was supported by children and young people and voluntary sector organisations across Surrey and is part of a national initiative led by NHS England and the Department of Education. The aim is to introduce 123 Mental Health Support Teams across England over the next four years with support targeted to the areas with the most need in each region.

In Surrey the Integrated Care Systems for Frimley and for Surrey Heartlands are working with Surrey County Council’s Children and Families directorate to gradually introduce the Teams from Spring 2021. They will be working with a small number of schools initially – which are currently being agreed – before broadening out the service to support children and young people in the identified boroughs of Spelthorne, Surrey Heath and Epsom and Ewell by 2023. Surrey’s Integrated Care System is planning to apply for additional funding as it is released over the next two years to expand the service to other boroughs in the county.