Pioneering Mental Health Project rolling out across West Suffolk
In 2017 Thurston Community College began employing a full time psychologist in partnership with the regions mental health trust. Thurston is one of very few schools in the country to do this and they have been amazed at the results. Over the last couple of years 81% of students who had reported living with anxiety or depression have seen their symptoms improve and this in turn has resulted in increased confidence, progress and engagement. The staff at Thurston also reported an increase in their own happiness at work and a reduction in workplace stress.
Following the success of Thurston’s innovative move, recruitment has started for three full-time clinical psychologists and one full-time assistant clinical psychologist to be employed at Newmarket Academy, Mildenhall College Academy and Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill. Dr. Beth Mosley who is the clinical psychologist at Thurston Community College and who is leading the project’s expansion told the EADT, ‘Outside of the home, school is often the hub of a young person’s life and so is the prime environment to promote resilience and wellbeing….Young people are our future which is why it is so important they get the right help early on.’
The project is being funded for two years by West Suffolk CCG and is part of the system-wide Emotional Wellbeing Transformation Plan for East and West Suffolk. The plan has set out how it aims to improve children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health by 2020.
MP for Bury St Edmunds, Jo Churchill, has been heavily involved in the projects expansion and told the EADT, ‘I am incredibly keen to see this successful model rolled out more widely, so that even more students and teachers, and arguably parents, can see the benefits of integrating mental health support into the education environment.’