Kent and Medway Mental Health Schools Team

Schools play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people at a time when they are experiencing lots of physical, emotional and social changes. The government has recognised education plays a significant role in shaping and developing children and young peoples understanding of themselves from a social, emotional and educational perspective and that offering Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing advice, education and support during this time is crucial.

Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) is a new government initiative to help increase access to mental health support for children and young people and is part of the National Children and Young People’s Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT).

The MHST initiative supplements the existing support within schools and has three core functions:

  1. To work within the school to promote and develop a Whole School Approach to learning about and working with mental health difficulties and emotional wellbeing development. We can do a variety of activities to achieve this, but we aim to always work collaboratively with the setting, young people and families, when creating or offering workshops, assemblies, or class taught content.
  2. To offer support and guidance to schools to promote joint working with other services to find the best outcomes for children and young people. This might be through teacher training, signposting, joined up problem solving and liaison with other agencies. 
  3. Offer targeted low intensity interventions for difficulties such as low mood, worry and anxiety, low self esteem/confidence, understanding behaviour and feelings etc. These can be offered as a group in a one to one or with parents or carers. We ensure these are evidence based and most use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to inform them. We also check they are working using routine outcome measures.

We are adding more Kent and Medway schools to the list all the time. Take a look at our current list of schools.

Kent and Medway teams

When we launched the MHST's in Kent and Medway, we wanted to ensure tht service was co-produced with children and young people, so we began surveys and focus groups to look at creating the service identity and design of our logo.

We are extremely proud of our participation groups who helped us design our beautiful logo and agree on what we should be known as. 

Kent logo           Medway Emotional Support Team

Our participation groups continue to work with us on our clinical content, our service development ideas and our social media presence.

Jargon busting!

Scrabble tiles spelling out the word jargonIn mental health services, there are always lots of fancy words to explain what we do and why we do it. We think it is important these are explained fully. 

What is Whole School Approach?

A Whole School Approach is cohesive and collaborative action by a school community that aims to improve student learning, behaviour and wellbeing. Every school has different needs and starting points. The whole school approach is a framework that can be used to assess what exists, create a plan to address gaps and identify measures of progress.  The Whole School approach comes from within the school and is maintained and reviewed by the schools leadership team.   For guidance on this we use Public Heath documents as well as research and evidence-based interventions to help a school achieve a positive and proactive approach.

Guidance overview: Promoting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing - GOV.UK (

Image explaining the Whole School Approach

What is CBT?

CBT looks at the difficulties a young person is experiencing and is based upon the understanding that how we think, feel and behaviour is closely linked to understanding a young person’s difficulties. Understanding how these interact for the young person is important.  CBT helps the young person to develop a toolbox of strategies and new ways of coping with difficult situations.  

Take a look at these videos which may help explain. 



What is targeted support?

This is when we offer some support for a specific issue, we are led by the child or young person to focus on a specific issue or goal. We keep it time limited.

What are ROMS?

Practitioners in mental health often use questionnaires to understand more about different aspects of young people's mental health, to measure problems or strengths, or to track how they change over time.

Take a look at this video from CORC (Children's Outcomes Research Consortium), which explains outcome measurement in a nutshell.

What does low intensity mean?

Low intensity means treatment that uses fewer resources. This means that sessions may be shorter or involve a smaller number of individual face-to-face or telephone sessions.

Offering low intensity treatment first means we are able to:

  • offer psychological help to more young people
  • offer psychological help more quickly
  • offer early intervention, before problems build up

Low intensity interventions are:

  • Often more convenient for the young people and families we support
  • Based on evidence of effectiveness
  • Based on a teaching skills model thus contributing to longer-term wellbeing