An innovative school-based workshop programme approach for 16 – 18s who experience anxiety, low mood and stress.

DISCOVER is a new, evidence-based mental health programme, that is run in schools, to help students who are highly stressed, and to build their resilience and confidence. The DISCOVER programme won a Guardian Public Service Award in 2018.

The project is supported with funding from the Maudsley Charity. Designed in consultation with young people, DISCOVER is an award-winning, non-stigmatising approach for a wide range of student emotional and stress-related problems.
DISCOVER has been delivered to over 900 teenagers to date, in academies, grammar and private schools across London and the South East. The programme provides psychological advice and techniques for young people in an interactive and confidential workshop format, with inbuilt outcome evaluation.

DISCOVER is delivered by a team of clinical psychologists from South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust (SLaM), in partnership with school staff.  The DISCOVER team also provides staff training and consultation in Adolescent Mental Health and ways for schools to promote student emotional wellbeing. In addition, we offer linked student seminars on ‘The Psychology of Stress and Wellbeing’, ‘Building Emotional Resilience’, and ‘Managing Exam Stress and Worry, as part of sixth form PSHE events. These staff and student sessions can be delivered in tandem, to spread the learning from DISCOVER, and can be booked directly by schools.

What’s coming soon?

Widening our reach. We are pleased to be delivering DISCOVER TO all the Harris Federation sixth forms, as well as other schools in London and the South East. We aim to spread DISCOVER’s reach to new regions in the next two to five years to reach more students in need. 

Sustaining students’ wellbeing and mental health gains. Two sustainability initiatives are underway. Firstly, we now offer staff and student PSHE seminars on student wellbeing to schools on request, based on the key messages from the DISCOVER programme. We are also developing a DISCOVER app, and other e-materials to help students maintain their emotional wellbeing once the programme ends. 

Helping improve the mental health wellbeing of teenagers who are on the edge of care. With Maudsley Charity funding, we have undertaken an adaptation of DISCOVER, with the help of teenage Care Leavers. This version of DISCOVER will be made available to young people in the public care system to support their emotional resilience, in Lambeth and Croydon in autumn 2018. 

Running DISCOVER alongside CAMHS. With the help of a colleague Dr Christina Loucas, a clinical psychologist, DISCOVER has  developed a successful clinic version of the DISCOVER workshop, for teenagers aged 15-18 who are on CAMHS waiting lists and are experiencing anxiety and low mood problems. This approach is being disseminated in Lewisham CAMHS in 2018, with the help of new Child Wellbeing Practitioners under the auspices of CYP-IAPT.

DISCOVER received the Award for Innovation in Practice in 2016 (from the British Psychological Society’s Faculty for Children and Young People) and The Guardian Public Service Award in 2018.


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