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Improving Mental Health & Resilience in Schools (IMHARS)

Improving Mental Health & Resilience in Schools (IMHARS)

Southwark’s Health and Wellbeing Board’s Ambition

Southwark’s Health and Wellbeing Board’s local ambition was set that ‘100% of Southwark children and young people get access to emotional wellbeing or mental health services so that the need (and waiting times) for specialist services is reduced; and to ensure that children and young people (and their families) who must wait for specialist services are well supported.’

Board’s purpose is:

-to oversee and direct the “Improving Mental Health & Resilience in Schools (IMHARS)” project to enable it to be successfully delivered, in contributing to the delivery of local ambition above.

Project aim:

One overarching aim is to build resilience through schools so that:

-children and young people can cope with challenges and,

-by ensuring more children live in stronger families.

We aim is to deliver a sustainable, universal infrastructure across all schools in Southwark, as part of our local, schools-led system.

Terms of Reference (pdf, 669kb)

IMHARS Action Plan with COVID-19 (pdf, 257kb)

Successes to date (as at 26/04/21)

IMHARS foundational funding

  • 76 unique schools successful in applying and receiving foundational funding;
  • 4 nursery, 52 primary, 4 special and 16 secondary schools = 53 maintained & 23 Academy/Free;
  • Over 30,000 pupils (universal) and 10000 pupils (targeted) will benefit from the funding;
  • 24 school collaboration projects.

CPD and training

As part of Thrive London, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) two day course:

  • 285 MHF Aiders across 86 schools

Other sessions delivered include: DfE Wellbeing for Education Return, Trauma-informed & sensitive practice in Schools, Philosophy 4 Children, Relationships & Sex Education (RSE), Supporting Staff Wellbeing, etc.

Hula Hoop


  • “Support for Staff Wellbeing” leaflet incl. free “counselling” service offer for school staff (employee-led)
  • Bfb Labs “Lumi Nova anxiety game” pilot across schools in Southwark

Signposting to Local Services

  • Signposting information to schools and new local directory of services:  Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health Resource Directory.

IMHARS School Champions’ Successes

  • created the new version 5 of the “PSHE &Wellbeing Curriculum Framework”, “Resource Bank” and “Reading Lists” Click Here
  • members of the IMHARS Funding Assessment Panel
  • launched new school policy for “Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health”
  • attended conferences/events, delivered training/CPD to school staff and shared learning and practice
  • quality assured resources/support documents and shared with schools
  • NEW: development of a new local resilience programme, with focus on “impact and what will the difference be” 
  • NEW: Communications –new and short films showcasing IMHARS practice as well as local communications campaign supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021)