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Mental health support: Harlow MP sees impact of Place2Be’s embedded service

Harlow's MP Robert Halfon paid a visit to Stewards Academy on Friday 19 April, gaining insight into how Place2Be’s embedded mental health service supports students.

Harlow MP Rob Halfon speaking with a Place2Be School Project Manager. The pair are sitting on green armchairs inside a room with light green painted walls.

Place2Be has worked within the specialist science academy since 2009.

An expert counsellor is on-site five days a week, providing students with a safe space to seek counselling support. Place2Be's counsellors can support young people experiencing a wide range of mental health difficulties, from anxiety and low mood to more serious issues with self-harm and abuse. Students also receive advice and learn practical tools to help them manage their emotional well-being.

During the visit, Mr Halfon spoke to Stewards’ school leaders who have worked alongside Place2Be to create a school environment that centres on positive wellbeing. He also heard about how the service has made a difference in the lives of both students and staff.

It has been a privilege hearing from students and staff firsthand about how Place2Be has positively impacted their mental health and wellbeing. With over 15 years of dedicated service within Stewards Academy, my visit has shown me the value that embedded mental health support can bring to school communities. I hope more schools across Harlow and the villages will see the benefits that Place2Be can offer their students, staff, and parents. Harlow MP Robert Halfon

Last year, Place2Be facilitated nearly 1,000 support sessions at Stewards Academy, working with over 200 students, parents, and carers. Reflective sessions with school staff also took place, providing them with advice and guidance on managing pupil behaviour and supporting them on wellbeing at work.

The school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead, Amanda Atkinson, was a finalist in Place2Be’s 2022 Wellbeing in School Awards. She was recognised for her commitment to supporting student well-being. At the visit, she highlighted the importance of Place2Be’s services at Stewards Academy. 

Place2Be are an integral part of the Stewards community, supporting students, staff and parents, and have been for 15 years. Having Place2Be in school 5 days a week sends a strong message that we are committed to improving students’ mental health. Stewards Academy Designated Safeguarding Lead Amanda Atkinson

Stacie Allan, Place2Be’s School Project Manager, and Elena Oliva, the Mental Health Practitioner, spoke to Mr Halfon about the different mental health challenges facing young people at Stewards Academy.

Mr Halfon, the former Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, also heard about Place2Be’s plans to introduce a new apprenticeship standard route into child counselling to make the career more accessible.

Our visit to Stewards Academy today confirmed yet again the value of having an expert mental health professional working in deep partnership as part of the whole school community. A service like this is something that children in every school should have access to. It is great to have Robert's insight on how we can get there. We were thrilled to share our plans to create a new apprenticeship in counselling, which we hope will bring us closer to every school having a service such as we saw today at Stewards. A huge thanks to Robert for joining us and for his support over the years. Catherine Roche, Place2Be Chief Executive


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