Tips for mental health practitioners in schools:
● Develop a service level agreement with the school that addresses issues such as confidentiality, information sharing and a work space that will not be subject to interruptions.
● Prioritise mental health awareness raising and training for all school staff so they can identify mental health issues at the earliest stages.
● Support the development of clinical supervision for staff working in schools. They need support with their own emotional wellbeing and in knowing how to manage difficult situations with children or young people and other adults. This needs a careful and sensitive approach as some staff may make a link between performance management and supervision which is incorrect.
● Consult and work alongside teachers and school staff. Sometimes consultation eliminates the need for one-to-one work with the child therefore minimising disruption. This also gives the staff confidence when dealing with issues they may feel unqualified to address such as bereavement, divorce or family illness.
● Provide a signposting service to the most appropriate specialist service. Not all children with behavioural difficulties have mental health difficulties or vice versa.