Coloured blocks of green, yellow, orange, red and blue with photos of young people and children overlayed.


Following consultation with a number of students, young people and staff, the Havering Mental Health Support Team is now known as Havering Emotional Support Team (HEST).

In Havering, we will be known as HEST, but we are stil a part of the national Mental Health Support Team (MHST) programme.

You will see our new name on future publications.

Havering Emotional Support Team (HEST)

Havering Emotional Support Team is a new collaborative service which is designed to help meet the emotional wellbeing needs of children and young people in education settings. This support is aimed at children and young people who may be experiencing mild to moderate emotional wellbeing concerns. We provide additional support working alongside other professionals who are already based in and around schools and colleges as part of the Whole School Approach

Currently, HEST is available in a number of placement schools across the borough, which includes both primary and secondary schools, with the aim of branching out in more schools and Havering colleges in the future.

Support we can provide to primary schools

In primary schools, we provide one-to-one support directly to parents whose children may be experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with behaviour and/or worries. We also offer psychoeducation workshops directly to pupils to help raise awareness of wellbeing. These workshops can be delivered via assemblies or in the classroom. Our service also offers targeted groups for which a small group of students are identified to attend between six and nine weekly sessions. These provide children with practical strategies on a particular topic, for example, building self-esteem and confidence.

We are also able to provide psychoeducation support workshops to staff in relation to their own emotional wellbeing, as well as pupils'. 

The video below from Kent and Medway Mental Health Support Teams explains what Mental Health Schools Team do in Primary Schools and the services they can help with.

Support we can provide to secondary schools

In secondary schools, we provide one-to-one support directly to students who may be experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with anxiety or low mood. We also offer psychoeducation workshops (learning more about emotional wellbeing) to students to help raise awareness of wellbeing. These workshops take place either for a whole class in the classroom, or via assemblies for a whole school year group.

Our service also offers targeted groups, for which a small group of students are identified to attend between six and nine weekly sessions. These provide children with practical strategies on a particular topic, for example, building early intervention to help prevent low mood escalating into depression.

We are also able to provide psychoeducation support workshops to staff in relation to their own emotional wellbeing as well as pupils'.

The video below from Kent and Medway Mental Health Support Teams explains what Mental Health Schools Team do in Secondary Schools and the services they can help with.

Whole School Approach

Our service is committed to establishing a robust Whole School Approach in each of our education establishments. A whole School Approach involves all parts of the school working together and being committed. It needs partnership working between senior leaders, teachers and all school staff as well as parents carers and the wider community.

To this end, in HEST we have established pupil well-being ambassadors in our schools, to capture the voice of our young people to enable us to shape the servcie accordingly.

We hold regular coffee mornings and drop in sessions for parents.

We run awareness stalls at lunch-times in schools. Teaching staff are able to use us as a resource to discuss any concerns that they may be experiencing with a pupil.

We are keen to support all of our communities and as such have actively encouraged referrals form under represented groups. Referrals from these groups have steadily increased over time.

Who is in the team?

The team consists of Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs), who are trained in Low Intensity support, based on techniques drawn from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Senior Mental Health Practitioners (SMHPs), Senior Clinical Supervisors, as well as a Service Manager.

Between us, we have a wealth of experience in supporting children and young people with their emotional wellbeing.


Havering Emotional Support Team (HEST) works closely with designated School Links in each of the 12 project schools. Access to this service can only be made via the School Link.

If your child attends one of the project schools, then you can speak with the School Link about referral to our service.

Working with you – How you shape our teams

We are proud to have worked alongside children, young people, parents, carers and schools locally in creating our resources and tailoring our support in line with what you have told us works for you. 

Here are some examples of “You said, we did”: 

Naming our service 

Some students told us that they didn’t like the name given to the teams nationally: ‘Mental Health Support Team’. Therefore, following consultation with a number of young people and staff in our schools to find a local name for our team, we became known as Havering Emotional Support Team (HEST).  Whilst we are now known as HEST, we are still part of the national Mental Health Support Team (MHST) programme. 

Designing our referral form  

A panel of Havering young people helped us design our referral forms in relation to relatable language to make the forms easier to understand, avoidance of words which jarred, such as ‘trigger’ and use of colour.  You can see the result on our website. 

Groups and Workshops 

As requested by some of our schools, we designed workshops for parents, children and young people.  For example: 

  • Challenging behaviour group for parents to help them with coping strategies at home and also benefit from sharing their challenges with others and gaining support from each other.  Feedback received has been very positive. 

  • Transition from Year 2 to 3 in primary schools for children moving from infants to juniors.  Feedback received has indicated that the workshop made a positive difference to the children who took part.   

  • Holiday Clubs for children upon request by schools, for children to engage in art and craft activities focused on emotional development themes.  Parents are also in attendance and have the opportunity to engage in the activities with their children or network together over refreshments. Parents can also consult with HEST team members in relation to our service, what we offer and tips on what they may find useful re approaches to supporting their children at home.  Parents, in their feedback, have told us that they have replicated some of the activities at home and also bought one of the story books that we use in relation to connecting with and processing emotions, upon request of their child. 

  • BAME forum, upon request by one of our schools, which we are hoping to extend to other schools, for pupils to be able to share with one another, their experience, in a "safe”  space.  This is part of our team mission to ensure that our service is accessible to and serves all parts of the Havering community. 

  • Wellbeing Ambassadors:

  • In accordance with our inclusion mission, young people have volunteered to input their views, to help shape our social media page.   We are very keen to involve as many young people as possible to ensure that material we publish is relevant and engaging.   
  • Wellbeing Ambassadors also meet regularly, facilitated by a member of school staff and the HEST team, to identify areas of emotional wellbeing in which they believe their peers would benefit from support.  The Wellbeing Ambassadors then take the lead, with support, in finding ways to address this, for example, raising awareness by displaying posters or rolling out events, such as ‘Get to know our culture day’. 
  • Parent Wellbeing Ambassadors have put themselves forward in order to seek views of other parents in relation to groups and workshops they think could benefit children and parents alike.  For example, the Challenging Behaviour Parent Group referred to above. 


What age range does HEST work with?

Hest will support students from the age of 4 to 18.

How long will you work with me or my child?

Hest works with the parents of pupils in Primary school, we typically offer 6-8 sessions. In Secondary school, HEST will work with pupils for 6-8 sessions.

What will happen during my first appointment?

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.

How can my child access your servcie? I am in secondary school, can I self-refer?

All schools have a member of staff who is the HEST “school link”, parents and or pupils can speak with the school link.  


From young people

“Since the start of these sessions till now and future you’ve made my mindset really positive and your lovely sessions have boosted my self-esteem and confidence a lot more. You’re a good role model to young people like ourselves and have helped many people, you’re also a really good influence and inspire people to think of the good in themselves and love themselves to treat everyone with love and respect. Thank you.”

“I feel the intervention has really helped with my anxiety. I feel it was handled brilliantly and I was helped amazingly… it was fantastic, the help really improved my mental health.”

From parents

“Thank you so much for all your help and support. I really appreciated the time and effort you put into the sessions and all the care and advice given to us. We really have noticed a difference in our parenting and in our daughter's behaviour even though we know we still have a way to go!”

“I would like to provide my feedback regarding the intervention sessions that I have been attending in school. My daughter is in year 6 and I was particular worried about her mental health and her confidence and below is my feedback regarding my sessions.

  1. The sessions were tailored to our needs.
  2. I strongly feel my voice was heard.
  3. I had the opportunity to speak in confidence.
  4. My parenting skills weren't judged.
  5. I was encouraged to try what works for me and this is amended instantly if it prove to be a fail.
  6. Suggestion on day to day activities and incentive that have no monetary value but has significant impact on my daughter's life.
  7. The whole program was explained in detail from the beginning. 
  8. My availability is considered for each session.
  9. Involved SENCO and class teacher for further support.
  10. Shared external training ideas and suggestion to help overcome my child's fear.
  11. Simple language and diagrams were used to help me understand the program.
  12. Regular friendly catch ups"

From clinicians

“Staff have been very positive and enthusiastic about working with us and our young people. There has been clear recognition of the pressures of school life and how this impacts on ability to meet/last minute changes etc. Contact with our staff and parents has been professional and caring. Interventions offered are useful for our students and organisation has been smooth.”

“Staff and I thought the sessions were very well organised and the resources provided were useful and of high quality. The children looked forward to each session and were engaged throughout as a result of the range of activities set. The topics covered were also appropriate and the children said that they covered the majority of their worries and questions following the sessions.

We would also like to mention that the staff were very kind and approachable with both classes, and were very clear with expectations during the sessions.”

How else can i get help?