Authorities across Bucks will work with dozens of schools and colleges to develop mental health support teams for young people in the county.

Bucks has been selected to be part of the Trailblazer pilot scheme, which will create specialist teams of mental health experts to provide early support for young people.

Bucks County Council, NHS Bucks Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will work with 40 schools and colleges to provide support to around 16,000 students.

The scheme will also plough more funding into resources for mental health assessments for young people, in a bid to reduce the waiting times for first appointments.

Young people in Bucks also benefit from free online counselling from a new programme called Kooth, which provides self-help information, moderated forums, counsellor messaging and therapy to young people between the ages of 11 and 19.

The news comes after it was revealed 435 Bucks children are currently waiting for their first appointment with children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across the Wycombe, Chiltern, South Bucks and Aylesbury Vale districts.

Each young person is waiting an average of 8.3 weeks before their first appointment, according to figures revealed following a freedom of information request to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Sian Roberts, clinical director for mental health for Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “We are pleased that our work in recent years has reduced waiting times and we continue to work to ensure young people are treated as quickly as possible.

“Anyone concerned about a child or young person who may be experiencing difficulties can contact Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at or on 01865 901951.

“This offers support, guidance, and signposting to other very useful services.”

Chief executive at mental health charity, Buckinghamshire Mind, Andrea McCubbin, said increased demand and stretched services means CAMHS are becoming increasingly stretched.

She welcomed the news at Bucks has been selected to be a part of the Trailblazer scheme, adding the charity will play a part in delivering support to pupils in schools.

Ms McCubbin added: “We are delighted that Buckinghamshire has been chosen as a trailblazer pilot site for the new Mental Health Support Teams and that Buckinghamshire Mind will play a part in this – delivering our highly regarded “Peer Support in Schools” programme.

“The two teams, based in Aylesbury and High Wycombe, will be made up of a range of health and care professionals – from CAMHS, Buckinghamshire Mind, Youth Services and Family Resilience.

“Working together we will be able to respond to mental health concerns pupils may experience. The teams will build on support already in place, offer timely assessments and interventions for pupils in need, and treat those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school.”