Introducing the Devon Mental Health Support Team in Schools (MHST)

Early intervention support for mental health and emotional wellbeing in selected Devon schools

Who are we?

The Mental Health Support Team in Schools (MHST) is a new NHS service commissioned to work with a number of schools across Devon offering early intervention to help you with your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

We are a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) working within the NHS and come from a wide range of training and experiences. Our teams are made up of Mental Health Nurses, Counsellors and Psychotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Teachers and Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHP’s).


What we do:

We work with children and young people with low-level/mild to moderate common mental health difficulties (anxiety, low mood and behavioural difficulties). Our traffic light tool below details the types of symptoms we do/don’t work with.

This is an early intervention service that provides clear and tailored Low-Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LI-CBT) interventions focused on guided self-help.

We work collaboratively with schools to establish a ‘Whole School Approach’ to mental health & wellbeing, enabling mental health to be valued and become an intrinsic part of school culture.

We also work collaboratively with you (and your families, where appropriate) using solution focused approaches that require commitment and participation to be effective.  We offer 1:1 and Group work in which our staff will support you to identify a current problem and set clear goals to help overcome this.


What is Low Intensity CBT?

CBT involves the practitioner working with you to focus on your problem and break it down into smaller parts. The practitioner will help you develop a toolkit of practical strategies and coping mechanisms so you can deal with difficult situations when they arise.

It is a talking therapy, based upon the understanding that your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations and actions are interconnected. It suggests negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a negative cycle and helps you to identify ways to break that cycle.



What are Whole School Approaches?

We work in partnership with our schools to develop universal approaches promoting well-being and the prevention of mental health problems across the whole school community.

Each school has a Designated Mental Health Lead which is the key link between MHST and School.  Through partnership with this lead we hope to support our school colleagues to develop a mentally healthy school culture and ethos, and a supportive classroom environment.


How do we do it:

We meet regularly with Designated Mental Health Leads to discuss mental health issues related to the whole school community and for consideration of needs of individual pupils or groups of pupils.

We aim to develop targeted responses where these are identified with schools, including specific workshops, groupwork and 1:1 interventions.

Additionally, we offer workshops & training events to increase emotional health awareness, to teachers, parents/carers and young people. This may include:

  • Anxiety/ Low Mood
  • Bullying
  • Diversity
  • Developing student participation around a mentally healthy school
  • Tackling stigma and prejudice around mental health.
  • Staff well-being


How to access 1:1 or Group Support

  • If you are a Child/Young Person/Parent/Carer please talk to the Designated/Senior Mental Health Lead in your school who can discuss your concerns with a member of our team at the weekly mental health meeting held in your school.
  • If you are a member of school staff and think a child/young person in your class needs support please talk to your Designated Senior Mental Health Lead who can bring the young person for an anonymous discussion to the weekly mental health meeting held in your school.


Which schools are MHST working with:

MHST’s are working with primary and secondary schools. Below is a list of secondary schools the teams are currently active in.

We encourage you to speak with a trusted adult in your school or the schools Designated Mental Health Lead to access their support.


Exeter 1:


  • St Peters C of E Aided School
  • St James School
  • St Lukes C of E School
  • Isca Academy
  • West Exe School
  • Cranbrook Education Campus (Secondary)


Exeter 2:


  • Clyst Vale Community College




  • Axe Valley Academy
  • Colyton Grammar
  • Exmouth Community College
  • Honiton Community College
  • Sidmouth College
  • The Kings School




  • Dawlish College
  • South Dartmoor Community College
  • Newton Abbot College
  • Teign School
  • Coombeshead Academy
  • Teignmouth Community School




  • The Park Community School
  • Pilton Community College
  • The Ilfracombe Academy

Special Provision

  • The Lampard Community School


  • Petroc (North Devon Campus)

You may also find it helpful to know that the team also work with the following schools in Torbay:

Torbay 1:                         


  • Paignton Academy
  • Brixham College
  • Torquay Boys Grammar


Torbay 2:                         


  • Mayfield School (specialist)
  • The Spires College
  • St Cuthbert Mayne School
  • Torquay Academy
  • South Devon College


Have your say

Help us improve the local information on this website and give us feedback about any contacts you have had with our service by completing the Devon Public Health Nursing feedback form.