Mental Health Support Team (MHST)

Who we are

The Mental Health Support Team (MHST) in Somerset is a collaboration between Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s (SFTs) CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) , and Young Somerset (a charity providing various Tier 2 services), as well as Somerset’s Education Psychology and Public Health teams and Exeter University.

The MHST promotes emotional wellbeing in educational settings by providing various brief  Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LI CBT) based Early Intervention treatments for Mild-Moderate Mental Health presentations (note: see below- our criteria is lower than the other CAMHS Community and Specialist teams) for Primary aged children – up to Secondary GCSE pupils, on site, in select educational settings.

Young Somerset’s services have included LI CBT (within their Community Wellbeing Team) for some time, and children at Non-MHST schools, can access this treatment directly through them. CAMHS likewise have provided a wide range of specialist Mental Health services, including employing Senior Mental Health Practitioners (SMHPS) to deliver these.

The MHST also completes a Whole School Approach (WSA) work, supporting schools and the Mental Health Leads (MHLs) within these to improve key areas of importance on a bigger scale within educational settings: such as Pupil Voice, Parent/Carer Engagement, Staff Wellbeing, Ethos and Environment, and other key areas.

Young Somerset and CAMHS working together means each using and combining its strengths to offer high quality Mental Health provision. Young Somerset employs Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) to deliver LI CBT according to a set criteria (details below) and CAMHS employs SMHPS to provide supervision to EMHPS, as well as some additional consultation to schools, and 1:1 assessment and support for young people with mental health needs which are more complex, but where risk is still low. Both Young Somerset and CAMHS work together to deliver group work, and Whole School Approach Work.

Finally Somerset Public Health, Educational Psychology, the Pupil Referral Units, and Exeter University are also all part of the wider MHST organisation, working in collaboration, to help SMHPs, EMHPs, and MHLs, to work together to understand and provide for the needs of pupils and staff in MHST schools. This includes by providing training, qualification, signposting, and links between other community, health and educational resources.

Our Team

As above the wider team is made up of several organisations and professionals within each of these. Young people children and families should most expect to be contacted and seen by Young Somerset’s Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPS) however, as it is these guys who work in schools to complete the main two MHST interventions in schools: 1:1 Low Intensity CBT, and Whole School Approach.

Within CAMHS it is the Senior Mental Health Practitioners who are the next main layer of workers within the MHST, providing supervision to the EMHPS, consultation to schools, and do often do this in schools. They also  see Young People themselves, though this may be in the Early Interventions Hub in Taunton, the Horizon Center, or alternatively other CAMHS clinics across the county: either in Mendip, South Somerset, Sedgemoor and Taunton.

The MHST also employs dedicated Whole School Approach workers to coordinate and support SMHPS and EMHPS in this work, with these able to provide additional training to parents such as by running Tuning into Teens and Tuning into Kids courses, and much more- even taking school assemblies or running groups, where they will be very visible in the school.

Somerset Public Health, Educational Psychology, the Pupil Referral Units, and Exeter University also all help SMHPs, EMHPs, and MHLs, to work together to understand and meeting the needs of pupils and staff in MHST schools. This includes by providing training, qualification, signposting, and links between other community, health and educational resources.

Finally the MHST would not function without a small but dedicated group of team secretaries, as well as having clinical, operational and service leads and managers within both CAMHS and Young Somerset.

Waiting lists

The length of our waiting list varies by area however we will aim to check in by phone or email every three weeks. In the meantime we offer advice on other services which might be useful, including clear guidance on who to contact if you have any urgent concerns:

Mindline, a 24/7 phoneline available to support people of all ages offering a listening and advice service for wellbeing. You can call Mindline on 01823 27689.

Your local GP, NHS helpline (111), Samaritans on 116 123

In the event of an emergency dial 999 or access your local A&E department 

Please see other services and resources in our Resources page.

Information for Young People and Families

Why have I been referred to this service and what can I expect?
The Mental Health Support Team (MHST) provides assessment and support for children and young people experiencing mild-moderate mental health and emotional wellbeing difficulties, such as low mood, worries, panic, fear, routines and problems with self-care, plus a few other things that you can see detail off in our referral criteria. This is for both primary and secondary age children, and we also offer some parent/carer interventions. We offer a few different Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy interventions, which we complete over 6-8 sessions. Before this we complete an assessment with you, to help us know if this would be suitable for you. This will usually be in school and take about one hour. If possible we will also set goals and discuss how sessions may look. Your MHST Assessment will consider your background and current situation. If there is concern our support offers are unlikely to meet your or your families current support needs (e.g. for reasons of safety or likely effectiveness of this treatment) then we will discuss this and offer signposting to other support which may be more appropriate. This may require our practitioners thinking further as a team, in order to improve the helpfulness of recommendations we give you, and also put in to a discharge letter to yourself and others.
Will it be confidential?
Our policy on confidentiality is based on your right for privacy, and your information not being shared with anyone who does not need to know this, e.g. your teachers, in order to establish open, honest and trusting communication. We do promote sharing this with parents/care givers, and select other significant adults involved in your care such as your school's Mental Health Lead (MHL) and maybe your General Practitioner (GP). If you do not want your information shared e.g. with your parents, then we can listen to and respect this up to the point of any significant concerns about your or others coming to any harm, when we may have to prioritise safety- though we would always aim to explain and work with you on this. More information on our confidentiality policy, and use/storing of your data, is available upon request, including on our referral form, and this will be explained in assessment where you can also ask any questions that you have.

Information for Professionals

Who can refer and how to do it?
"Requests for help" can only come into the service via the school designated Mental Health Lead(MHL) within any MHST assigned school. Other staff and families may however input into these. The MHL should be the one to send these to the MHST inbox, after checking the request for help form for completion. You can find the "Request for help" form on the right-side of the page.