23 May 2019

Whole School Approach News


Twenty-four pilot primary schools have now signed up to host twelve trainee Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) and mental health leads from each school have attended a training session around making referrals into the service. The practitioners (EMPHs) will be providing low-level interventions for children showing early signs of anxiety, low-mood and mild depression. Whilst completing their training they will be working in the pilot schools, with a view to expanding into all Liverpool primary schools in January 2020. The pilot schools were selected from across the city as shown on the map below.

A recent survey into the pilot schools reported all these schools are encountering children struggling with anxiety, with 92% of them saying children’s anxiety was either moderate or severe. 91.3% reported mild-moderate low mood, whilst 76.19% said that they were seeing children with mild depression. The survey also highlighted low confidence and self-esteem as a significant issue for their children.

The purpose of EMHPs is to intervene early and prevent some of these issues from getting worse and we are excited to see these workers starting to work with children after half-term. They will form part of three mental health support teams, based at the YPAS hubs, who will be focussed solely on providing mental health support into the city’s primary schools.



Comments from EMHPs:

“I feel really passionate about moving the focus of mental health support towards prevention and early intervention. This has so many positive implications for young people on an individual basis and from a wider perspective. It can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by tackling issues early on and normalising struggles from an early age. This has a huge impact on young people’s quality of life and adopting a healthy mindset towards mental health as a whole generation. We can actually make a difference in preventing young people reach a crisis point, where the severity of their mental health negatively impacts their ability to access support and receive treatment. My previous experience of working in a mental health unit for adolescents has reinforced this belief, as I experienced the level of severity young people can get to if they don’t access help when their difficulties are emerging. I feel really privileged and grateful to be a part of this process of early help.” Tara Johnston, Trainee Education Mental Health Practitioner, YPAS South Hub

“My background is in teaching and psychology, so I felt that in this job I could perfectly utilise my experience from these fields. I am looking forward to feeling part of a school community again in my new role where I will hopefully be able to provide valuable psychoeducation and mental health support for both pupils and staff members.” Heidi Kelcseyni

“Working within education for a number of years I have seen first-hand the pressures that young people and schools are facing in regards to mental health. After reading the Government response to the Green Paper, I was excited to hear about the introduction of Education Mental Health Practitioners and wanted to apply so I could become part of a solution that will help equip our Young People to cope better. I am delighted to be a part of the trailblazer project, and working with such a diverse group of organisations and people, with the aim of improving the outcomes of our young people, is something I am extremely proud of.” James Dunn.

Train to be an EMHP

There may be further opportunities to get into the next wave of training to become a mental health practitioner. You can find out more information about the role from the following link:


Kath Thompson

Senior Project Manager – Whole School Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing