Scottish Borders leads the way in teenage mental health

A group of six young people sit around a table with six adults standing behind them

Published: Monday, 25th June 2018

The See Me schools mental health initiative has been launched in all Borders high schools as part of our commitment to supporting the wellbeing of young people across the region.

See Me builds on the work that we have been progressing over a number of years with our partners, and will complement a range of other initiatives that aim to build emotional resilience and confidence in young people.

Committed to supporting young people

We are the first local authority in Scotland who has committed to taking a whole authority approach in this way. Working together with NHS Borders through the Children and Young People’s Leadership Team, we have developed a number of key aims that we are looking to achieve across all secondary settings:

  • making sure that young people and staff members develop increased levels of mental health literacy, feel more more confident in talking about the issue and know where to seek help
  • encouraging schools and youth settings to develop an openness when it comes to talking about mental health and to reduce stigma and discrimination
  • delivering Scottish Mental Health First Aid Peer Support Training to approximately 800 S6 pupils
  • delivering Scottish Mental Health First Aid Training to teachers and partner providers.

Ninian Grant (S6), Earlston High School

“In the training, we covered anxiety, depression, suicide, symptoms of a panic attack and how to help someone. It was very informative and useful. I don’t think it’s easy for young people to talk about mental health, but hopefully with this training it will become easier and easier to talk, because it reduces the stigma and helps people understand better what is going on.”

Councillor Shona Haslam, Council Leader

“In this, the Year of Young People, it feels particularly important that we do all we can to give our young people and the staff who work with them the tools, training and opportunities they need to develop emotional resilience and also to make sure they know what support is available and where they can turn to for help if life should become difficult.”

Wendy Halliday, See Me Assistant Director

“We want to see a culture shift in Scotland around mental health. This needs to start in schools so children and young people are having open conversations on this from an early age. Too many young people feel they can’t speak about how they are feeling, often because they worry about being judged or dismissed.

“To help young people recover from mental health conditions they need to be able to speak about it, to get care and support quickly. It only takes one adult to make a difference to a young person’s life, we all have the power to listen and help someone to get the support they need. So we are delighted that schools across the Borders want to help equip adults and young people to have these important conversations on mental health and tackle the stigma which still exists.”

Resilience practitioner services to be available

It was also announced that we have committed additional funding to enable third sector provider, Quarriers to develop a resilience practitioner service that will become available in each of the nine high schools during the 2018/19 school session. The initiative will form part of the emotional health and wellbeing service that Quarriers is currently implementing.

Angela Freeman, Service Co-ordinator for Quarriers

“We are committed to supporting the resilience and wellbeing of young people and are so pleased that additional funding is to be made available to support our work here in the Borders.

“We have already made good progress with the implementation of our service locally and over the past six months, have been building relationships with partner agencies, linking in with key stakeholders and developing our staff team. A number of workshops have already been held in schools and we are currently focusing on being able to provide support for young people over the summer months.

“The resilience practitioner model is an ideal way to extend and develop the service we are looking to provide and we will be engaging with the Council and its partners as a matter of priority to identify the most effective way to take this exciting initiative forward.”

More information

Images from the launch event are available on our Flickr page.

The See Me programme and Quarriers service are part of a range of initiatives that we have been developing with NHS Borders and other partners, including:

  • Growing Confidence – this programme aims to promote positive mental health and emotional wellbeing training to parents, carers and practitioners. Over the past two years, the Council has invested in this training for leadership teams and staff in all primary and secondary schools and ensured that each school has at least one trained trainer available. Some schools have also been able to offer the training to parents.
  • All S2 pupils have undertaken the Growing Confidence Cool, Calm and Connected training.
  • More than half of primary schools have delivered the training to their staff with the remainder to receive it during the 2018/19 session. A number of primary schools have also been piloting sessions with parents.
  • The programme will be rolled out to other partner agencies over the coming year as well.
  • Building Resilience (Promoting Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing – A Whole School Community Approach) pack – this will be delivered to all P1-7 pupils in all primary schools from August.
  • School nursing - building on the national review of school nursing, one of the key priorities for the service in the Borders is to support young people’s emotional health and wellbeing. Staff are undertaking additional training to enhance skills and expertise in using models of evidence based practice.
  • CAMHS Link Nurse - NHS Borders is using innovation funding to support a new role that provides consultation and advice to colleagues across sectors to develop skills and confidence in supporting young people’s emotional health.
  • LGBT – all secondary schools are working towards their LGBT Bronze Award by October 2018, apart from Peebles HS who received their Silver Award in June, the first of the nine high schools to achieve that.