Broadway Avenue, Milton Keynes, MK14 5PY

Mental Health Support Teams

In 2018 the Government detailed proposals for expanding access to mental health care for children and young people in a green paper: ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health provision’, building on the NHS ‘Transformation programme’. In Milton Keynes this programme is already well underway through the development of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs).  MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on some mental health and emotional wellbeing issues, such as mild to moderate anxiety, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. Further funding has been agreed and primary schools that feed into Stantonbury International School and The Radcliffe School have been identified as priority for wave 5 of the programme.


Mental Health Support Team (MHST) Referral Criteria

The MHST is a service that supports children and young people, aged 5 to 18 years, and their families, with mild to moderate mental health difficulties through time-limited evidence-based interventions.

The MHST also provide:

  • Support the senior mental health lead in each education setting to introduce or develop their whole school or college approach including attendance at assemblies and lessons, in PHSE and the completion of audits
  • Give timely advice to school and college staff and liaising with external specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education

The MHST can support with:

  • Anxiety presentations (e.g., generalised anxiety, simple phobias, separation anxiety)
  • Depression presentations (e.g., Low in mood, withdrawal, Irritability)

Other presentation in the context of an Identified Mental Health need as above.

  • Thoughts of self-harm and support for alternative coping strategies for superficial self-harm
  • Repetitive/rigid/ritualistic behaviour mild obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) early onset
  • Problems and worries
  • Panic management
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Negative thoughts
  • Avoidance behaviour
  • Low confidence
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Parent support (In context of child’s presentation)

For primary age children (5 to 11 years): Interventions are aimed at supporting parents, however in some cases direct work with the child will be considered.

The interventions offered are based on working together, so will involve the young person/parent completing some work between sessions.

A diagnosis of ASD, ADHD, learning disability or other difficulties does not exclude children/young people and families accessing the service, but can be discussed with the team to consider whether adaptations can be made or if another service would be more suitable to provide the support and intervention needed.


Primary presentations that are not within the team scope are: -


  • Transgender
  • Adoption process
  • Sexual assault
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Complex eating disorders
  • Complex phobias
  • Bereavement

The MHST may be able to offer signposting advice on services best placed to meet these presenting needs.


Provision of interventions

The MHST will provide short term CBT informed interventions, typically of six to eight sessions.

Senior staff may be able to deliver up to 12 sessions where clinical needs indicate. This may be for young people who present with a higher risk.

Interventions will usually be on a 1:1 basis.  Group based sessions for specific and identified need will also be provided for young people and their parents/carers.  Training and support as well as guidance and presentations/workshop for teachers/support staff and parents/carers are also offered.


Interventions that are offered include: -

  • Thought challenging
  • Problem solving
  • Worry management
  • Behavioural activation
  • Behavioural Experiment
  • Graded exposure
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Parenting support programs
  • Training teachers to support interventions

Level of need

The MHST work with levels 1 and 2 on the diagram below (Get Advice and Get Help) where interventions are targeted and short term.  These young people have need support developing a more resilient approach to their own mental health and wellbeing.


Referrals or Referrals outside of the Criteria

The MHST is not an urgent need or emergency referral service.

In an emergency (if the young person has seriously injured themselves or taken an overdose) please seek medical attention via 999 or attend the Local Accident and Emergency Department.