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University to train new school-based Mental Health teams – University of Reading

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University to train new school-based Mental Health teams

Release Date 20 December 2018

Primary school children studying


Children and young people experiencing mental ill health will benefit from a new Government plan bringing together the NHS, Schools and Higher Education including the University of Reading.

New Mental Health Support Teams which will be trained by seven universities including Reading will support a population of more than 470,000 children and young people, who will be based in and near schools and colleges, with support starting from next year.

Professor Shirley Reynolds, Director of the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading which will be involved in training Mental Health Support Teams said:

“The Charlie Waller Institute are proud and excited to support this important new development.  

“Our work with, and in schools, and with individual teachers and young people shows that there is enormous enthusiasm for these new mental health teams.  The teams will work directly in schools and provide brief treatment for children and young people with the most common mental health problem.  They will support school staff and parents and help build resilient school communities.  

“The new teams will also help identify children and young people with more complex problems.  They will work with all existing services to provide a more joined up provision for all children and young people who experience mental health difficulties.”  

Supporting children in Schools

Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and young people and will be responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each, depending on their size.

The teams will build on support already in place from school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector to treat those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school and will help children and young people with more severe needs to access the right support and provide a link to specialist NHS services.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

“Children and young people with mental illness should receive the same level of support as those with physical illness

“Made possible by the extra £20.5 billion we are investing in the NHS, today’s announcement will see the health and education systems come together so our children can access the help they need at school and takes us a step closer to achieving our goal of parity between mental and physical health.”

The Department for Education will also fund training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges – working to ensure a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.

These leads will work closely with the Mental Health Support Teams to ensure children and young people get the right help as soon as possible including harnessing new technology.  


The trailblazer sites are made up of the NHS and key local stakeholders, including schools and colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations and will be rolled out to between one-fifth and one quarter of the country by 2023/24.


  • There will be 25 trailblazer sites that will provide 59 Mental Health Support Teams in this first wave of roll out which will cover just under 500,000 children and young people across the country.
  • Training will begin in January 2019, and the expectation is that the Mental Health Support Teams will be operational by December 2019.
  • The seven Higher Education Institutions are: University of Reading, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Greater Manchester Mental Health CBT Training Centre, King’s College London, University College London, University of Northampton, University of Exeter. 





The Charlie Waller Institute

Charlie Waller was a young man who suffered from depression and took his own life at the age of 28. The Charlie Waller Institute (CWI) is a collaborative initiative between the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, Reading University and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.


The Charlie Waller Institute this year celebrated 10 years of providing a programme set up by the Government to improve patient access to psychological therapies called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).


In the ten years that the IAPT programme has run nationally, more than 8000 therapists have been trained and 560,000 patients per year have received a course of treatment, with recovery rates improving from 43% in 2008 to more than 50% across the country; and improvement rates seeing a similar rise to 66.6%.


Further details about the Charlie Waller Institute are available at:




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