School Link Service Information

The school link team aims to prevent mental health difficulties developing for children and young people. Our school link practitioners support schools and educational staff in Wigan to develop knowledge, skills and confidence in identifying and supporting mental health in schools.

Our aim is to reduce stigma, develop whole school approaches to mental health, support early identification of mental health symptoms and raise awareness of self-help support and self-management strategies.

Our children and young people wellbeing practitioners (CYWPs) provide assessment and brief intervention (6 – 8 sessions) to young people experiencing low level and emerging mental health symptoms. These may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Stress
  • Exam stress
  • Low mood / Self-esteem
  • Confidence

Our CYWPs offer a range of low intensity interventions that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy and guided self-help. They aim to help young people and their parents/ carers in the self-management of their recovery.

The School Link team is part of the wider Wigan CAMHS team. CAMHS work within the THRIVE Framework which thinks about the mental health and wellbeing needs of children, young people and families through five different needs-based groupings: Getting Advice and Signposting, Getting Help, Getting More Help, and Getting Risk Support. The school link team provide advice, signposting and early help within THRIVE.

Who do we work in partnership with?

The team believes that multi agency working is the best way to support young people. Some of the other services we work with as well as schools are educational services, social services, school nurses, health services, voluntary and third sector services, and GPs. 

Who is the service for?

The service works with all schools within the Wigan area with the aim of supporting those under 18 years old who attend them. 

If you are currently home schooled or do not feel you want to access support through school, you can still access mental health support through Wigan CAMHS. Please phone 01942 775 400.

How to access

If you are a child or young person concerned that you may be developing symptoms of an emerging mental health problem please speak to a trusted adult, parent or carer. You and/or your trusted adult can then speak to your teacher, pastoral support team or head of year. School will want to support you by finding out more about your concerns and advising you about your options for support in school, this may initially include mentoring or school counselling. School might also discuss referral to our school link team, this will include completing a questionnaire to find out more about any anxiety, worry and low mood symptoms and discussing your hope for support.

When we receive your referral, we will book a consultation with your trusted adult in school, we will find out more about your concerns and how this is affecting you at school. We will also speak to your parent or carer to find out how you are feeling at home. Initially, we will provide school and your parent or carer advice on how they might be able to support you. Your trusted adult in school will then let you know our starting plan which may include referring you for counselling through Wigan Family Welfare, Willow project, Startwell or one of our CYWPs meeting with you to complete a suitability assessment for brief intervention. Once assessment has been completed you will decide together how you will be supported and the next steps.

If you work in a school, advice and support can be accessed through consultation with your school link practitioner. Please see a link to our online consultation request form here.

Unfortunately, the school link team are unable to accept self-referrals or parent referrals. If you would like to access advice or assessment from the school link team please contact your/your child’s school to discuss options for support and possible referral.

Feedback from school staff

I honestly cannot speak highly enough of the School Link team and the service they provide for the young people at our school. They have offered help, support, and guidance whenever I have had concerns over students’ mental wellbeing. The opportunity to work collaboratively with mental health professionals has increased my confidence in being able to intervene early when I have concerns over a young person’s mental health. Being able to identify when a student may be struggling, and feeling confident in completing an anxiety and depression scale questionnaire (RCADS), has allowed me to provide targeted early intervention for the students in my year group. As a result, I feel upskilled and believe it has made me a better, more well-rounded Pastoral Head of Year.

Having scheduled consultations with our School Link worker gives me an opportunity to ask any questions I may have and provides a timeframe in which I can implement what we have discussed. The School Link team are able to offer indirect work that I can complete with the students in school, which can range from helping students shift their focus onto positives in their day, to more one-to-one based activities that we can work on in timetabled sessions. I am also able to offer support to parents by signposting them to appropriate websites and apps that can help and inform them and their children. Where appropriate, the School Link team have provided assessment and intervention to those students in need. The whole process is easy to navigate and students are able to access these sessions during their school day. Students speak very highly of the practitioners they work with and have all responded positively to the support offered to them.

Since working with the School Link team, we have noticed upturns in student mood and have seen a considerable reduction in need for Pastoral support time, allowing students more time in lesson accessing their learning. Being able to offer a range of early intervention has been vital in assisting our young people with their mental health struggles. I feel confident in entrusting our students to the service, knowing that they will receive the appropriate support to help them better access their day-to-day.

Useful resources

Childline | Childline Childline is a free, private and confidential support & advice service. Available to you online https://www.childline.org.uk/ and on the phone 0800 1111

www.kooth.com Kooth is an anonymous site which helps children and young people to feel safe and confident in exploring their concerns and seeking professional support

Self Care, Anxiety, Depression, Coping Strategies | On My Mind | Anna Freud Centre

https://youngminds.org.uk/ YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity championing the wellbeing and mental health of young people.

ThinkNinja has a website and mental health app designed for 10 to 18 year olds. Using a variety of content and tools, it allows young people to learn about mental health and emotional wellbeing, and develop skills they can use to build resilience and stay well.

https://www.smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app Smiling Mind is a unique tool developed by psychologists and educators to help bring balance to your life.

Need Urgent Help

If a child or young person needs urgent mental health support, please contact the CAMHS duty worker on 01942 775 400 for advice and to determine if urgent assessment is required (Monday – Friday 09.00 – 17.00). Out of hours please contact 0800 051 3253, this is a 24/7 mental health crisis line for people of all ages in Wigan.

SHOUT Free, 24/7 mental health text support in the UK | Shout 85258 (giveusashout.org)
24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help. Text 85258

Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org or Call 116 123

Referrals for mild to moderate mental health problems can be made here

Referrer Details

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