Evaluating the targeted mental health in schools (TaMHS) programme

  • Research Project Team

    • Dr Miranda Wolpert,
    • Dr Jessica Deighton,
    • Praveetha Patalay,
    • Professor Neil Humphrey,
    • Professor Jay Belsky,
    • Professor Peter Fonagy   

    Contact

    jessica.deighton@annafreud.org

  • Background

    This research was commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF, now the Department for Education DfE) as the national evaluation of Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS). 

    It aimed to explore the impact of this programme and find out which approaches appeared to be the best ways for schools to help children.

  • Aims

    The TaMHS project itself aimed to help schools deliver targeted support to those with, or at risk of, mental health problems.  Between 2008 and 2011, £60 million was allocated across all local authorities in England in order for them to develop additional provision of mental health support in selected schools, including individual, group and whole-school interventions.

     

  • Methodology

    To evaluate TAMHS, two studies were undertaken: a longitudinal study (2008-11) and a RCT (2009-11).

    Over the course of the project, researchers tracked and analysed the progress of over 18,235 children in over 526 primary and secondary schools across England.  A mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology was involved and details of the methodology can be found in the final report.

  • Results

    Results from the longitudinal study indicate a decrease in average self-reported emotional and behavioural difficulties in primary school pupils and emotional difficulties in secondary school pupils. The RCT found that TaMHS reduced problems for primary school children who had behavioural difficulties such as aggression and anger.

    The effect was particularly strong when the mental health support was coupled with evidence-based self-help booklets. The RCT provided no evidence of an impact of TaMHS on secondary school children or for emotional outcomes.  However, results from the longitudinal study did indicate that positive links between schools and special services and the provision of information to pupils were associated with greater decreases in behavioural problems.