Barnet’s new mental health initiative for schools celebrates its first year

Author: Yasmin Nelson


Barnet’s Resilient Schools Programme (BRSP) celebrated the success of its first pilot year with an event at East Finchley’s Terapia Centre.

The celebration hosted by Barnet Council’s Public Health Team on Thursday, 28 June saw attendance from members of staff from the pilot schools, representatives from across the council including the authority’s Child’s Rights Lead; responsible for coordinating the council’s work towards becoming a Unicef Child Friendly Community.

One in 10 young people in the UK have some kind of diagnosable mental health condition – half of which are established before the age of 14. BRSP intends to help young people by using mental health training, practising staying safe and healthy whilst online and championing physical activity through the Mayor’s Gold Kilometre.

The event allowed attendees to share learning and feedback from the programme’s first year, including presentations from the schools that took part, and a speech from PREVENT officer, Perryn Jasper, who addressed the issue of radicalisation and challenges with mental health in the digital age.

BRSP aims to de-stigmatise mental health in schools and provide students, parents, carers and staff the support they need to be able to recognise their own mental wellbeing needs. The programme’s approach targets early intervention to prevent the escalation of problems with mental health.

Chair of the Health & Wellbeing board, Councillor Caroline Stock, said: “Prevention and early intervention is key to tackling mental health issues in children and young people. 

“We are very proud of our approach to building resilience in pupils, staff and parents to ensure we have happy and healthy future generations living in Barnet”

Mumin Humayun, Deputy Headteacher of Whitefield secondary school, said: “The process of BRSP has allowed staff to reflect on the emotional and wellbeing needs of our students, as well as providing much needed training and support from external agencies. which we would otherwise not have.

“As a result, teachers have been encouraged and empowered to build positive relationships with students which support the development of the 'whole child' - including academic and personal wellbeing.”

BRSP’s pilot year began with five schools and another 11 schools across the borough have been welcomed on board as part of year two of the programme’s pilot that will begin in September 2018. Collectively, the 16 schools will be champions of mental health and resilience for the rollout of the programme in 2019/20.

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