Across the Portsmouth Education Partnership there is a clear, shared intention to adopt a whole system approach to developing and transforming the support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Fundamental to this approach is the importance of partnership working and that social and emotional mental health becomes ‘everyone’s business’ in the same way as safeguarding has become ‘everyone’s business’ across Portsmouth.

Our vision

We want all children and young people in Portsmouth to enjoy good emotional wellbeing and mental health. The ways in which we will achieve this vision are:

  • Establishing a clearly understood needs-led model of support for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties, which will provide access to the right help at the right time through all stages of their emotional and mental health development.
  • Ensuring that children and young people have access to a range of early help in supporting their emotional wellbeing and mental health needs which will prevent difficulties escalating and requiring specialist mental health services.
  • Supporting professionals working with children and young people to have a shared understanding of social, emotional and mental health and to promote resilience and emotional wellbeing in their work.

For further details see our social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) strategy 2020-23.


SEMH partnership

Our SEMH partnership brings together expertise from CAMHS, School Nursing, Education Psychology, Multi-Agency Behaviour Support Service, Mental Health Support Teams, Inclusion Outreach Service and Early Help and Prevention Service. We are working together to support colleagues in schools to meet the needs of:

  • pupils at risk of, or already being excluded
  • pupils on reduced timetables
  • chronically and persistently absent pupils
  • pupils at risk of, or already experiencing a range of concerning emotional welfare issues and behaviours e.g. anxiety, self-harm
  • pupils at risk of harm.

School wellbeing support

A school wellbeing support package has been produced to offer guidance and support to manage some of the challenges that staff, pupils and parents may face. It contains resources and links to local and national services.

We have also created a staff wellbeing page which contains links and resources that you can use to help manage and maintain your own wellbeing.

Mental health and wellbeing awareness training

Mental ill-health and poor emotional wellbeing can affect us all. Staff working in schools support some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It is therefore important to be able to recognise possible signs of mental ill-health or poor emotional wellbeing in ourselves and others, and to take action where necessary.

An online training course is available on the Portsmouth Learning Gateway (PLG). This course describes:

  • The difference between emotional wellbeing, mental health and mental ill-health.
  • How changes in behaviour could be communicating difficulties with emotional wellbeing, mental health and/or mental ill-health.
  • The role of school staff in supporting pupils with these needs.
  • Where to go to get extra support for staff and pupils.

You need to login to the PLG to find and complete this course. If you require a login please contact us.

Face-to-face or remote training can also be provided at a school level. Please contact [email protected] to discuss your requirements.

Restorative approaches

Across Portsmouth, schools, partners and agencies use restorative approaches to build maintain and restore relationships. This builds on the work by the Multi Agency Teams to adopt a restorative practice model of working based on strong evidence that restorative practice in schools can make a real impact on behaviour, attendance and bullying.

At the heart of restorative approaches are strong and positive relationships between adults, between adults and pupils and between pupils themselves. Further information on training and support to introduce and embedded restorative practice in your setting can be found on the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

Getting help for emotional health and wellbeing

A service guide for professionals summarises the services available, how to access them and contact details.

The Department for Education have put together a collection of mental health resources for children, students, parents, carers and school/college staff.

A mental health guide for under 18’s is available to download here. This is a guide to the main professional services in Portsmouth.

Self-care, tips, advice and guidance

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families provides a range of different types of support for children, young people, parents and their families. The On My Mind section of the website empowers young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing. There are also dedicated resources on coronavirus.

Young Minds
Young Minds have a dedicated support section for young people seeking mental health support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Getting help: mild to moderate mental health need

If families or professionals are concerned that a young person is experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues they should be advised to explore what support is available through their school or college. This support could include Mental Health Support Teams who are currently working with 32 Portsmouth primary and secondary schools. The school should make contact with MHST ([email protected]) for consultation and support for MHST referral where appropriate. A flyer for parents/carers of primary school children which outlines the support provided from MHST is available to download and print.

Kooth.com is provides a digital emotional health and wellbeing service for young people from age 11-18 (or up to age 25 for care leavers and those with an EHCP). Young people can access self-help resources, moderated peer support and professional support from counsellors. Young people can self-refer/register on Kooth.com, no referral required, site available 24/7, counselling available 12noon-10pm Mon-Fri and 6pm-10pm weekends, 365 days per year. More information can be found here.

Getting more help: moderate to severe mental health need

If families or professionals are concerned that a young person is experiencing moderate to severe mental health issues that are ongoing and impacting daily life then they should contact CAMHS Single Point of Access for consultation and advice. They offer face-to-face, web based, and telephone support on a needs-led basis. Available: Mon – Fri: 09.00 – 17.00. Please contact: 0300 123 6632. A flyer providing a short overview of ‘what to expect’ after a referral has been made to CAMHS is available to download and print.

Getting crisis support

If a young person is experiencing acute emotional distress with high risk to self and others they should contact 111 which is available 24/7.


Portsmouth Local Offer
The Portsmouth Local Offer is for children, young people and their families with a special educational need or disability.

Wessex Healthier Together
Wessex Healthier Together contains advice and information for parents/ carers, young people and professionals. It includes resources and strategies to help yourselves and others as well as how to access professional support and advice.

Simon Says
Simon Says provides support for loss and bereavement. They are able to help schools with training, advice on individual cases and situations, emergency visits to school following a traumatic death, workshops for pupils as part of PSHE and setting up a bereavement support group.

A recording of a workshop facilitated by Simon Says, An Introduction to Supporting Loss and Bereavement, is available to watch here.

Portsmouth Young Carers Service: focused work with schools and colleges
Portsmouth Young Carers Service are currently offering all secondary schools and colleges in Portsmouth the opportunity to book a range of ‘team around the worker’ support. This will initially take the form of free staff training sessions, together with opportunities for the delivery of assemblies and support to set up Young Carers Groups within our secondary provisions.

Portsmouth Young Carers Service have launched an electronic referral form.

Young carers primary resources to download and print:

Family hubs
Family hubs run across Portsmouth and now provide support to children and families up to the age of 19, including summer holiday programmes. For more details see the Portsmouth City Council website.

Early Help and Prevention
The integrated Early Help and Prevention Service has been established to provide targeted support for those families who need help to strengthen their functioning and improve outcomes, but haven’t met the threshold for statutory service provision. Embedding early help for vulnerable young people in education outlines the relationship between schools and Early Help.

The Little Blue Book of Sunshine Portsmouth edition e-book
A guide for young people which promotes self-help plus local and national support services. The guide is available in a digital format, making it easy for young people to read it online or download it onto their device.

The Little Blue Book of Sunshine has tips on how to deal with problems such as anxiety, stress, body image, relationships and anger, explaining what young people can do right now to feel better, and who to turn to if things feel too much.

It is available for free from Google Play Books and Apple Books.


Anna Freud Centre
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a children’s charity dedicated to providing training and support for child mental health services. Schools in Mind is a free network for school staff and allied professionals which shares academic and clinical expertise regarding the wellbeing and mental health issues that affect schools. The network provides a trusted source of up-to-date and accessible information and resources that school leaders, teachers and support staff can use to support the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people in their care.

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust provides training and resources including downloadable booklets for professionals, parents and young people.

UK Trauma Council
Resources for school staff and practitioners with tools to identify, help and support children and young people experiencing traumatic bereavement. There is also a helpful animation which explains what traumatic bereavement is and how it can be experienced by children and young people.

 “Let’s Talk”…about self-harm
A self-harm management toolkit for educational settings. Developed in response to requests from schools and part of the work for the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Transformation Plan, ‘Open up, reach out’, for Southend, Essex and Thurrock.

Managing self-harm: practical guidance and toolkit for schools in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
A guide containing latest information and resources to help recognise the signs, risks and support available for anyone who works within education when dealing with students who self-harm or are at risk of intentionally harming themselves. Developed at the request of teachers, nurses, mental health professionals (doctors and nurses), known as Cornwall Multi-agency Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Board.

Education Endowment Fund (EEF)
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published guidance, ‘Improving behaviour in schools’, which aims to support senior leaders to promote positive behaviour in schools, based on the best available evidence.

Online training

  • MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people’s mental health for all adults.
  • MindEd for professionals and volunteers offers free and completely open access online education in over 300 topics. The e-learning is applicable to a wide range of learners across the health, social care, education, criminal justice and community settings. The aim is to provide simple, clear guidance on children and young people’s mental health, wellbeing and development to any adult working with children, young people and families, to help them support the development of young healthy minds.
  • MindEd for families is useful for parents or carers who are concerned about their child or who want some hints and tips on parenting. It has online advice and information from trusted sources and will help parents and carers to understand and identify early issues and best support your child.
  • Stonewall produce a range of good practice guidance, resources and toolkits for schools on LGBT inclusion issues. Locally, we have produced Portsmouth Trans Inclusion Guidance for Schools and Colleges.
  • Talk to Frank give an A–Z list of substances and explains appearance and use, effects, chances of getting hooked, health risks and UK law. Includes information on peer pressure.
  • Think U Know is a guide to internet safety and safe surfing for children, young people, parents/carers and professionals.
  • Young Minds provides audit tools, training materials to develop academic resilience, and other resources.