New key worker support service in schools for ages 9 – 14

Improving the mental health of young people is a key challenge for Hastings.  The teenage years can be a stressful time for lots of young people. That is why it is important that easily accessible help is available for those children and young people who are anxious, who may be experiencing bullying or who may have difficulties with their confidence or self-esteem.  Providing early help, when children and young people may be experiencing low level difficulties, can often prevent difficulties from becoming more entrenched and complex, and requiring more intensive and costly specialist support.

For this reason, we have set up a specialist team of five full time key workers to offer low level support to 9 – 14 year olds in up to twelve Hastings primary and secondary schools.

What will the team being doing?

Our key workers work closely with each school’s designated mental health lead. Teachers at each school identify those children and young people who are in need of low level support, so that the key worker can engage with the child and their family.

Typically, the interventions involve weekly one to one sessions with the child for 6 – 8 weeks, as well as at least three catch-ups with parent / carers.

The programme also includes:

  • Group sessions for children and parents
  • Training for school staff from a senior practitioner, leaving a lasting legacy of increased skills amongst staff in schools and improved approaches to mental health and wellbeing
  • Support to parents in the form parenting advice, employment advice and parents’ own emotional wellbeing
  • Particular support for children transitioning from primary to secondary

Key Targets

Since 2018 the short term key-work team have offered both 1:1 interventions and a series of group work programmes to give children and young people better coping skills to increase their resilience.

Measuring the impact of the work is important for the team. They use tried and tested measures, such as the Adolescent Well Being Scale to review the impact of the team.  The team will also use a service user feedback form to gather information about young people on what has have changed as a result of using the service.