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Improving collaboration between schools and child and adolescent mental health services

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has been leading a pilot initiative to improve the collaboration between schools and mental health professionals and celebrated the end of the pilot at a learning event in April.

Sam Gyimah, MP spoke at the event and praised the Mental Health and Schools Link pilot, which aims to trial new ways of working between schools and CAMHS to improve the support children and families receive.

He said: “These pilots have started us on the road to more collaborative working, improved conversations and better relationships, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for children and their families.”

The pilot is a joint initiative between NHS England and the Department for Education and involved over 250 schools in England. Each school identified a named mental health lead within their organisation who worked closely with a named point of contact in the local CAMHS service and with local clinical commissioning groups to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health issues amongst school staff.

The Anna Freud Centre led a consortium of experts to develop and deliver two workshops to each of the pilot sites.

In his speech, Sam Gyimah also announced plans to extend the pilot and to work further with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families to support with more schools, including those that are harder to reach.

He said: “Over the coming months we will be working with NHS England, the Anna Freud Centre, and our evaluators to scale up this approach in your areas.”

The learning event was attended by over 100 education and mental health professionals involved in the pilot. It was opportunity for professionals from across all pilot sites to come together and share their learning and experiences of the pilot. 

The results of the evaluation of the pilot will be made available at the end of the year.