Children and young people across schools in Richmond borough will soon be offered school based mental health services.

The news comes as both Richmond Council and NHS services for south-west London successfully bid for an extra £4.3m of national additional funding to improve mental health services for children who attend school in the borough.

Local GP, Dr Andrew Murray said: “Working more closely with schools has completely changed the way we look at improving the mental health of our young people – the pressures they live with are growing and changing and we have to adapt to support them.

“I continue to be inspired by the enthusiasm of the schools involved and their dedication to the wellbeing of their pupils.”

The programme - which started at the beginning of 2018, is led by the South West London Health and Care Partnership and focuses on delivering mental health support and training for children young people, their families and teachers.

The funding will be added to the £1.85m received last year and will go towards increasing mental health support teams for children and young people over the course of two years.

This means increasing access to the support currently provided from 25,000 to 81,000, around half of all pupils in south west London.

Cllr Piers Allen, Richmond Council Chair of the Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Committee, said: “Children today experience pressures that we as adults often find hard to appreciate, or possibly even understand.

“We are much more aware of mental health in the education sector now than in decades gone by and rightly so, and teachers are often able to recognise the early warning signs of changes in their pupils’ behaviour or mood, but they are not mental health professionals.

“This additional funding will ensure that all are more equipped to deal with the challenges our young people face in a school-based setting.”

Some of the money will also be used to expand existing mental health support teams in clusters of primary and secondary schools in Richmond, Kingston and Croydon which focus on building emotional resilience of children and young people through early intervention.