Specialist mental health services will be introduced in 40 schools across Croydon borough following a successful borough bid for NHS funds.

Croydon's share of the £4.3 million NHS pot will go towards launching teams in primary, secondary and SEN schools to lead programmes for children, young people, their families and teachers.

This will include at least eight new emotional wellbeing practitioners to deliver support, with a focus on building emotional resilience by improving inclusion, tackling bullying and reducing youth violence.

Patrick Shields, Head Teacher at St Mary’s Catholic High School, said: “This extra funding is absolutely fabulous news for schools across Croydon.

"In an increasingly pressurised society, it’s really important we support young people with their mental health.

"At St Mary’s we are focusing on improving emotional wellbeing – and this additional resource means our pupils and families will have access to more direct help from qualified professionals.”

Parents will have the opportunity to practise conversations that encourage better mental health and wellbeing, while teachers and support workers will also be trained to recognise, support and signpost or refer pupils to specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Croydon Council, local schools, and the local NHS are key partners and the successful bid was jointly submitted by six boroughs across South West London.

More than 80,000 children across this area are expected to benefit, which is around half of all pupils in the region.

Councillor Jane Avis, Croydon Council’s lead for families, health and social care said: “This additional funding is much needed and it will help us to support even more children and young people to deal with challenges in their lives, before it becomes a crisis.

"It will boost our efforts to transform the health and wellbeing of all children and young people in the borough.

"This kind of early intervention and the focus on prevention are vital to maintain good mental health in the long term, as well as helping to ease the demand on health and wellbeing services in the future.”