Inclusion call for creation of School's Mental Health Network

Head of Inclusion College, Marie Greenhalgh, is calling for Senior Mental Health Leads (SMHL) in Hampshire schools and colleges to join a local regional network.

Marie, who has worked at Inclusion Hampshire for 13 years, is hoping to engage with other teachers and education professionals who have completed the Department for Education (DfE) funded training programme to help develop best practice regionally and provide mutual support in the improvement of mental health provision across the county.

Marie said: “Some of our young people face a lot of barriers and difficulties, so if we can all join up and share ideas and resources, then we’re just going to be giving them the best support and guidance. “I’ve recently completed a Senior Mental Health Lead course with Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, which focused on how to implement a whole-school approach.

“Now I want to make sure we can share what we’ve learned with other schools in Hampshire, and learn from their experience too, so we can all support each other in keeping the mental health of young people a real priority.”

Marie is also keen to engage and include the local community, businesses and parents with the network to ensure all stakeholder voices are heard.

Inclusion Hampshire is a Specialist provision, prioritising mental health and wellbeing support for learners. One of Marie’s key aims is to discuss ways for all educational settings across Hampshire to be supported in developing their staff, as well as ensuring every child and young person across the region has access to excellent mental health provision.

She said: “Training is so important to help staff feel confident and supported in what they’re delivering – and I think this is also incredibly important to model to our learners. We’re demonstrating how mental health should be viewed, reducing stigma, accessing support, talking openly, and treating your mental health and wellbeing as a priority.

“Some of our young people experience anxiety, low mood, eating disorders, OCD, and I would say that some of these have absolutely been exacerbated in the last couple of years due to COVID.

“To recover from that, good mental health provision needs to be supportive without stigma and discrimination, and knowledge based. It’s about ensuring safe, supportive, nurturing, caring, mental health well-being is embedded in everything we do. And what we really need to be doing is preparing to send them off into the wide world as resilient young people who have the capacity to talk about their mental health openly and confidently.”

If you would like further information and get involved with the network, then please contact Marie at marie.greenhalgh@inclusionhampshire.org.uk