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Supporting child mental health

Children in primary schools across south London are learning how to look after their mental health, thanks to a programme called CUES-Ed, designed by clinical psychologists and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) therapists from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

CUES-EdThe programme is delivered to whole classes as part of their normal school day, to help children learn the basics about mental health and wellbeing.

Children learn cognitive strategies and simple but effective behavioural techniques through fun hands-on activities spread over eight sessions. These give children the skills to help manage difficult situations and strong emotions.

Dr Debbie Plant, Clinical Psychologist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

We recognise the primary school community as the ideal opportunity to offer universal education about mental health issues, teach children how to look after themselves emotionally and develop a shared language that enables children, teachers and parents to talk about psychological wellbeing.
The CUES-Ed workbook for children, parent newsletters, weekly home-tasks and digital development reinforce the key concepts at school and home and promote long-term retention of learning. We engage children in a creative and interactive way – with exciting, visually strong and recognisable branding and characters that promote mental health in a positive way.

 The team have recently completed the programme at St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School in West Norwood. 

In July, Education Secretary Damian Hinds revealed plans to make health education – including mental health – compulsory in schools from September 2020. 

 He said:

Good physical and mental health is also at the heart of ensuring young people are ready for the adult world. By making health education compulsory we are giving young people the tools they need to be ready to thrive when they leave school.

The proposals have been welcomed by CUES-Ed psychologists and therapists who are committed to the Department of Education’s recommendation that schools have a role in supporting pupils to be resilient and mentally healthy to help them succeed.

The King’s Health Partners Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinical Academic Group includes local, national, specialist outpatient and inpatient services.