Young people from schools and colleges across Hertfordshire will benefit from a new accreditation to improve their emotional wellbeing and mental health.

The Healthy Young Minds in Herts accreditation will be awarded to schools and colleges that demonstrate a commitment to supporting pupils’ and teachers’ emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Schools and colleges embarking on the accreditation will engage in reviewing their practice and cover 11 main elements - from school leadership, ethos and staff wellbeing, to teaching students about staying well and seeking help, and targeted support for vulnerable individuals.

More than 150 representatives from schools and colleges across the county gathered at the Fielder Centre in Hatfield on April 3 to mark the launch of the accreditation.

The event included inspirational talks from Adrian Bethune, a Hertfordshire teacher, speaker and author, and Hope Virgo, a mental health campaigner and author.

Watford Observer:

Adrian Bethune, Hertfordshire teacher and author

Watford Observer:

Hope Virgo, mental health campaigner and author

Following on from gaining the emotional wellbeing and mental health accreditation, schools and colleges can also work towards gaining the Suicide Awareness Status award.

Several schools in Hertfordshire are already pioneering the approach, with the first accreditations due to be awarded this month after being reviewed by the Healthy Young Minds panel.

Kathryn Magson, CEO of NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group and chairman for the Hertfordshire Emotional and Mental Wellbeing Board, said: “Establishing this accreditation shows progress towards our commitment to improving mental health for children and young people living in Hertfordshire.

“As schools and colleges are increasingly responding to the emotional wellbeing needs of staff, parents and pupils, the early intervention approach - which this accreditation promotes - is vital. Crucially, the framework the accreditation provides schools is not just about raising awareness of emotional wellbeing and mental health through the curriculum, it involves the whole school community and promotes sharing ideas and best practice across the county.”

Hertfordshire was recently chosen as a national trailblazer in testing mental health support teams for primary and secondary school pupils.