How long have you worked as an Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) within the InsideOut Team?
What does your role involve?
Supporting children and young people (CYP's) with 1-1 and group evidence based interventions such as BA, Exposure and Friends resilience. We support low intensity presentations, such as anxiety, low mood, self-esteem, panic, worry, OCD and sleep hygiene. We also support parents whose children present with conduct and anxiety presentations.
In school, we also assist in developing the whole school approach alongside staff, this includes assemblies, psychoeducation and getting parents involved in reducing mental health stigma. We also complete referral huddles where we can signpost, offer guidance and accept referrals into our service. This is available to all members of staff in school, but particularly the mental health lead, SLT and SENCO.
What sets your role apart from other CBT roles?
Our direct contact with schools. We are placed in one school per day, where we work with the school to plan and implement strategies across the school environment to promote mental health and wellbeing. We also act as a single point of contact for staff members, so we can offer advice and guidance and can signpost to other services. This reduces wait times, and reduces confusion around where to signpost for support.
What does a typical day look like for you?
In school, I would usually have 2-3 sessions with CYPs and parents, a mental health drop in during lunch time where any CYP can attend and discuss their concerns, and a huddle referral meeting with staff. I might also run assemblies, deliver workshops, or run coffee mornings for parents to come along and chat to a mental health professional.
Why would you say positive mental health within school is important for our young people?
It's what everything else is built on so to speak. A child or young person that has a strong sense of self, healthy coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety, who knows who to turn to for support and has high resilience is much more likely to be happier throughout their life and pass this onto others they meet.
What benefits can young people get from engaging in your support?
A non-judgemental, friendly support system that helps them navigate through their feelings and put strategies in place to manage their anxiety, worry or low mood. A safe space, with some fun!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with the young people and their families. It is fantastic to see how my clients have developed as people, improved their relationships with their families and others, and feel happier in school.
If a young person was worried about accessing our service what advice would you give them?
I would ask if they would like to come to one of our drop in sessions, have a chat about what they think they might be worried about. Have a conversation with a person they trust about their worries, and see if we can help. But also that it's okay to be worried and nervous, and that we can always take things at their own pace when they feel ready.
Lastly, have you got any words of wisdom for our young people?
If you feel worried, anxious or sad please talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Even if it's not been happening for long, it's great to talk and share what's bothering you and can make you feel a bit better.
If you had a broken leg, would you go to the hospital? Yes. Well mental health is no different. Reach out when you feel ready and fight the stigma.
For more information about the InsideOut Mental Health Support Team, please contact our office on 01642 505580 (option 3)