Anna Freud Centre offers help ensure whole school community support

20th January 2021  |  By: Michelle Cunliffe

The Anna Freud Centre is delivering a free, resilience support service via schools for pupils and teachers, as well as parents and carers.

The Schools Support Service is part of the Anna Freud Centre’s response to the enormous pressures of the coronavirus pandemic – with a significant gap in mental health support, particularly for children and young people experiencing low to moderate difficulties who could be helped earlier before their difficulties get worse. The service will work alongside existing services, taking approaches to reach more young people and particularly those who may be viewed as hard to reach. 

The national service is currently being piloted until July 2021 in over 30 secondary schools, with the aim of improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school community. In this first phase of the work, the service is delivering a number of interventions including peer support training to secondary schools, with pupils aged 13-17 being trained and supported to help one another within their own school. The other interventions include teacher wellbeing consultations, parent support groups and 1:1 appointments and direct support for young people, all delivered remotely.

Lesley French says: “We’re excited to offer a new service of direct support for pupils and teachers, as well as parents and carers.

“The coronavirus pandemic has placed schools under phenomenal pressure and the service is providing much needed mental health and wellbeing support at this time. The Anna Freud Centre’s strong track record in working collaboratively in school settings will mean that this work contributes to improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school community and ensures positive results for all.”

Rahi Popat from Keyham Lodge School, which is already engaged with the service, says: “We have seen our most hard to reach parents and carers access the support service available, and they have spoken very positively around the support they have received.

“Staff across the school have chosen to access the teacher wellbeing consultations to help them during these very challenging times for the education sector, noticing that trained support available is of great assistance to them right now.

“It has proved to be a safe space, open platform and a source for support for everyone connected to the school community.”

Recruitment for the pilot is currently closed and we will be reporting findings from the pilot in due course.

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