We Are Middlesbrough: Mental health scheme helps 12,000
A mental health scheme has helped thousands of schoolchildren and staff across Middlesbrough.
HeadStart Middlesbrough was launched in 2015 with National Lottery cash to improve mental health among children.
It teaches mindfulness and resilience training to pupils and staff at 52 schools across the town.
HeadStart programme officer Andy Appleyard said the scheme had funding until August 2020, with discussions ongoing for the future.
The scheme has taught an estimated 12,000 children and staff about mental health.
Development officer Nicola Hunt said, since its start, referrals to child and adolescent mental health services have dropped, while pupil attendance, attainment and behaviour have improved.
She said: "We are teaching the tools and tips for mental health and resilience and it is sustainable because everyone in the school is learning them."
Mr Appleyard added: "It's about early prevention and intervention before mental health problems can develop, making children aware of their feelings and what they mean."
The scheme has also recruited 511 peer mentors across schools, who are pupils given extra training to act "almost like mini counsellors and peacemakers".