Covid-specific resources (virtual and physical)
MHSTs have produced a variety of resources specific to Covid-19, relating to the disease itself as well as the impact that the response to the pandemic has on children and young people’s mental health. Haringey, for example, has produced the following:
• Safety resources, for example relating to PPE
• Self-care leaflets have been published for parents
• The Brain Buddies app, a group intervention to support emotion regulation, has been made available to children and young people (also in Islington)
• Face to face workshops for secondary school pupils to reflect on the impact of coronavirus on them and to share commitments to support themselves or others have been established
• An online photography project has been developed to explore emotional wellbeing through images
In addition, a Covid-specific resource hub has been developed in SWL for staff, CYP, parents/carers. Hammersmith and Fulham have developed a Covid return to work handbook.
The 2018 survey indicated that many schools had taken action to improve the culture of the school in relation to awareness of mental health issues, for example through classes and assemblies with a focus on mental health. Involving all members of the school rather than focusing on those suffering with mental health aimed to reduce stigma and develop a school culture that is more supportive and invites CYP (and staff) to talk about their feelings in order to improve emotional wellbeing throughout the school. This represents a whole school approach methodology.
This type of approach also includes an element of staff support – the need to support staff who are in turn offering support to CYP. There were fewer examples offered of programmes that included this element.
Information from MHSTs indicates that they are developing resources that aim to provide additional support for CYP and Whole School Approach activities:
- In West London and in Hammersmith & Fulham a whole school approach worker offered staff support workshops during lockdown to support staff wellbeing and the return to work
- A whole school approach consultation model is being developed in Hounslow to allow school staff a reflective space to consider their whole school approach and how the MHST can support this.
Barnet’s individual school needs assessments informs how the MHSTs contribute to the whole-school approach and the delivery of non-individual interventions (e.g. groups and workshops, consultations).In the Oxford study, planning for a whole school approach to mental health was felt to be important as students and staff return to school after Covid. The survey suggested that workshops aimed at schools and/or parents and focusing on general difficulties for students as well as Covid-specific difficulties (eg. health anxiety, refusing to attend school refusal or direct experiences around trauma and bereavement) were ways in which schools could be supported going forward.