IHR receive grant for research into school-based psychology service
Dr Anna Daiches and Prof. Eric Emerson of the Institute for Health Research at Lancaster University have been awarded a grant from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to evaluate a scheme which aims to bring psychological therapy into schools and to promote psychological wellbeing amongst young people.
The scheme will be running across five secondary schools in the Blackburn and Darwen area, with a Student Health Advisor in each of the schools providing one-to-one therapeutic, family, parent and group work. The project will be overseen by a clinical psychologist, management team and steering group which including stakeholders such as students, teachers and parents. Whereas historically there has been a shift away from specialists in the field of psychology working and being based within schools and the community, this project aims to make psychological services easily accessible to students and their families.
The advisors will work to challenge aspects of school culture which are likely to cause these problems, such as lack of communication and bullying, and help to enable students to talk freely about mental health issues, as well as providing therapy.
The research, conducted by Dr Richard Slinger and supervised by Dr Daiches and Prof. Emerson, will last two years, and will play a key part in the evaluation and development of the project and may be instrumental in securing further funding for the project after an initial period of two years.
This scheme is the biggest project of its kind in England, although similar work has been undertaken in the USA, and proved very successful, and it is hoped that it will prove an extremely positive step towards preventing exclusion in one of the most deprived areas of the North West region.
Executive Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Councillor Mahfooz Hussain said: “By bringing psychological services into schools we hope to take away any stigma or awkwardness that might be perceived around the issue of mental health. Many, many people go through difficult times in their lives and young people are no exception. We want to make getting help for mental health problems as simple and easy as going to the doctor for treatment for a physical ailment.”
The secondary schools involved are Our Lady and St John Catholic Art College, Witton Park High School, Queen’s Park Technology College – all Blackburn and the two Darwen high schools, Darwen Vale and Darwen Moorland.