Walsall schools to take part in pilot to improve mental health services for children

Hundreds of children across Walsall will benefit from improved access to local mental health services, following the Government’s announcement that Walsall has been chosen to be part of a new national pilot scheme.

NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), in partnership with Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, was successful in its application to be part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and Schools Link Pilot Scheme. A joint initiative from the Department of Education and NHS England, the scheme aims to improve links between schools and health services and make it easier for children and young people to access local, specialist mental health services.

Ten schools across Walsall – including three primary schools, six secondary schools and a specialist school – will take part in the 12 month pilot. Each school will have a named mental health lead whose role will be to work closely with local Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Staff at each school will also take part in training to improve their knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing issues among children, the local NHS services that are available and how to refer children to these services.

Salma Ali, Accountable Officer at NHS Walsall CCG commented: “I am delighted that our application to be part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and Schools Link Pilot Scheme has been successful. Improving mental health services for young people is one of our key priorities and one way in which we can do this is to improve our links with local schools.”

David Haley, Executive Director for Children’s Services at Walsall Council commented: “This is great news for Walsall. Being part of this pilot will help to ensure that more children, parents and teachers across Walsall know how to access the best support for young people with mental health concerns.”

Anne Marie Carey, Head of Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust added: “We look forward to working with schools across Walsall to help develop their understanding of mental health issues so they can spot the signs earlier and refer children to services for help when needed.”