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Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, visited pupils at Chosen Hill School on 10 October to talk about mental health support for pupils and the mental health trailblazer pilot project.

In December last year, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group worked with partners Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire County Council and local charity TIC+ to successfully secure £5 million funding to boost mental health support in schools.

Over the past six months, the Trailblazer project has been working with ten ‘early adopter’ schools whilst establishing four new Mental Health Support Teams which will work closely with the 72 schools in the programme.

Chosen Hill in Gloucester is one of the early adopter schools.

Cllr Patrick Molyneux, cabinet member at Gloucestershire County Council, responsible for education in the county, said: “It’s so important that everyone is encouraged to talk about mental health from a young age and that people who are struggling can find the support they need when things get tough. The visit from Rt Honourable Gavin Williamson MP today was significant in highlighting the issue, but also showcasing exactly what help is out there for young people and their families.”

Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Making things better for children and young people with mental health problems is one of our top priorities; it is really important that they can find the support they need to help them cope when things are tough. It was fantastic to join the Secretary of State for Education on World Mental Health Day on his visit to Chosen Hill School to hear about the positive impact that the mental health trailblazers pilot is already having for children who need emotional support.”

John Campbell, Chief Operating Officer, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We know that 1 in 10 children experience a mental health issue and that, by age 14, half of all enduring mental health problems are established. Through the Trailblazer Project our Education Mental Health Practitioners are now embedded in schools in Gloucestershire. This will provide early intervention and focus on preventing mental health problems taking hold. This will improve not only mental health, but also educational outcomes, life opportunities and the futures of our young people.”