Essex Mental Health Support Teams

Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) partner with schools and colleges in Mid and South Essex to support mental health and emotional wellbeing. Our focus is on early intervention, prevention, and promotion; for young people who are thriving, coping or would benefit from getting help.

We work with the whole school or college community; for example, delivering workshops and coffee mornings for parents and carers, assemblies and pupil voice groups for young people, and training and consultation for staff. We work individually and in groups with parents, carers, and young people.

Some of the things we help with are:

  • Low mood: sadness, low motivation
  • Mild to moderate anxiety: worries, irrational fears, and concerns
  • Behaviours that challenge
  • Family and peer relationship difficulties
  • Difficulty adjusting to change and transition
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • School absences or at risk of exclusion

What will happen during your first session with the MHST?

We will think together about whether the MHST is the right team for you and, if so, how we can best support you

We will talk about what is going well and the things you would like help with. We may ask you lots of questions, which is important for us to get a good understanding of how we can help.

We will agree on what the next steps are for you.

Primary schools

Our guided self-help interventions are for anxiety or behaviour that challenges and are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, also known as CBT.

We work with you - parents and carers - rather than directly with the child. Research tells us that this is more effective as you know your child best!

We will meet with you for six to eight sessions, with some ‘homework’, which will be reading or activities, between sessions. We run both one to one and group sessions.

Our aim is to understand together what’s going on for your child and to practice strategies that will help you towards your goals.


Secondary schools

Our guided self-help interventions are for anxiety and low mood and are based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

We work directly with young people aged 11-18 in their school or college.

We will meet with the young person for 6-8 sessions, with some ‘homework’ (reading or activities) between sessions. We run both 1-to-1 and group sessions.


Other types of support

Support types

Whole class intervention: we provide whole class, year group and group interventions in line with identified school needs


A range of options: We offer a wide range of interventions because we acknowledge that guided self-help might not always be the right fit.


Signposting to other services: We work with schools and families to think about ways of supporting the child or young persons including signposting to other services or activities.


Support for school staff: We support schools and colleges to develop and deliver their whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.