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Supporting minority groups in schools – reflections on training education mental health practitioners

Helen Woodley (Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 26 August 2021

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021




This study aims to reflect upon the first wave of training of Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs), a new National Health Service role to provide support for Children and Young People (CYP) with low and moderate mental health needs in education settings in England. The study specifically focusses on the training for EMHPs in relation to their support for CYP who identify themselves as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME), refugees or from the traveller community.


A brief review of the policy and literature on the role and remit of EMHPs was undertaken, including an exploration of the current status of BAME, refugee and traveller community CYP in schools in England. The review was then related to the specific experience of the author within the context of teaching EMHP trainees in a higher educational setting and evaluated as developing outcomes in low-intensity school-based practice.


There are benefits for trainee EMHPs to have an understanding of the minority groups of CYP attending schools in the area their Mental Health Support Team (MHST) covers. There are benefits for the MHST to form relationships with minority groups at an early stage in the MHST formation. Adapting the EMHP curriculum at a local level to include specific training on the needs of minority groups supports the development of relationships between schools and the communities they engage with locally. Ongoing training should be provided by services focussing on the specific needs of minority groups in their MHST area.


Involving minority groups in education in the formation of MHST and the training of EMHPs may improve outcomes in developing therapeutic relationships with CYP. Developing engagement practices in MHSTs with higher education providers, begins the process early in the experience of EMHP trainees, providing a safe environment in which to develop engagement skills.



Woodley, H. (2021), "Supporting minority groups in schools – reflections on training education mental health practitioners", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 468-479.



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