One of the largest mental health trials in the world has been launched across schools in England, and Merton will be taking part.

Up to 370 schools will be involved in the scheme across the nine local authorities chosen in an effort to boost evidence about what works to support mental health and wellbeing.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced the trial on Monday to mark the start of Mental Health Week.

Hundreds of children and young people will learn how to use a range of methods from mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to help them regulate their emotions.

These methods will be used alongside pupil sessions with mental health experts.

The study will run until 2021 and aims to give schools new evidence about what works best for their students' mental health and wellbeing.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Kelly Braund, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to take part in such an important pilot, which has the potential to provide significantly better support to some of our most vulnerable young people at a very difficult point in their lives.

“Nationally, too many children come into our care with mental health issues which have gone undiagnosed and better mental health assessments will ensure that we can provide support tailored to each child’s needs.

"There is a strong link between a child’s mental and physical health, so improving their wellbeing can also benefit their overall health.”

Led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in partnership with University College London, the school study is now in its second wave and recruiting more primary and secondary schools to join.

The trials will test five different approaches, including two focused on increasing awareness in secondary schools through short information sessions either led by a specialist instructor or by trained teachers.

Three approaches in primary and secondary schools will focus on lighter-touch approaches such as exercises drawn from mindfulness practice, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation techniques and recognising the importance of support networks including among their own peers.

An estimated half of all children in care meet the criteria for a possible mental health disorder, compared to one in 10 children outside the care system.

The head of service for specialist trauma and maltreatment at the Anna Freud, Sheila Redfern, said: “We’re excited to begin working with sites on this important project.

"A new assessment framework is to be introduced, with the child or young person at the heart of these assessments.

"The approach will be more relational, include the young person’s carer, and bring together views of those around the child.

"The aim is to increase awareness of the level of the young person’s mental health needs and create a shared understanding of these needs across the important people in the child’s network.”