DEDICATED mental health teams are ready to help an influx of anxious pupils returning to Oxfordshire's schools post lockdown.

Oxford Health’s Mental Health Support Teams help children and young people with mental health and emotional wellbeing problems, such as anxiety, behavioural difficulties or friendship issues.

With schools reopening fully following the lockdown in March amid the pandemics, the teams are expecting more referrals from the schools they work in partnership with across Oxfordshire, particularly around anxiety.

Debbie Richards, Oxford Health’s managing director of mental health and learning disability services, said: “We recognise that covid has had a significant impact on many young people and their families.

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"Through this important collaboration between our mental health support teams and schools, we can reach more young people with emotional and mental health concerns, providing support to them, as well as their families and teachers, at an early stage.”

In Oxfordshire, the service is currently co-delivered with Response Charity and Oxfordshire County Council, with four teams supporting 12 secondary schools and 67 primaries – approximately 32,000 children.

The two teams in Oxford support 35 schools with the other two helping 44 schools in the north of the county around Banbury and Bicester.

Each team of seven to eight, is made up of educational mental health practitioners, youth workers, family workers and peer support educators.

Banbury Cake:

It can support up to 8,000 children and young people.

In primary schools, the teams deal with helping parents to support their child with anxiety, as well as any behaviour problems.

For secondary it is helping students themselves with anxiety and low mood problems.

The teams all have the same simple objective: to bring together education and mental health professionals and strengthen the existing services such as counselling, school groups and support from school nurses.

This early intervention can also link into more specialist children and young people’s mental health services ensuring, if needed, pupils and students can access more intensive support.

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Approximately one in eight young people aged five to 19 in England have a diagnosable mental health condition.

It is estimated that half of all mental health problems manifest before the age of 14, with 25 per cent enduring mental health conditions being present by 24 years old.

A recent Oxford study also found during lockdown teenagers had struggled more than their parents.

The Oxford ARC (Achieving Resilience during Covid-19) study, launched in May, found teenagers consistently reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than parents