Arrow ImageAcute, PICU and Rapid Response

Posted on Jun 29 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A headteacher who oversees a school that is located within a secure psychiatric hospital has scooped a top award for her prevention work within mental health and education.

Cheryl Smith, who is based at St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, picked up the Community Changemaker of the Year prize at the annual Changemaker Awards ceremony, which is hosted by the University of Northampton (UON).

Now in its sixth year, the awards programme recognises people, services and organisations that make a positive social impact created through their changemaking activities.

Cheryl was recognised at the glitzy event, held at the Park Inn Hotel, for launching the LightBulb programme, which has been designed to help teachers spot the early signs of mental health issues in children and then take appropriate, early action.

LightBulb provides a ready-made framework for schools so those that participate can demonstrate and showcase excellence regarding mental health practice to regulatory bodies such as Ofsted.

Once signed up, the school receives mental health awareness and support training for all school staff as well as sessions for both parents and students. Each session talks about symptoms, support and signposts resources.

Wray Irwin, Director of Enterprise and Employability from the university, said: “We were so impressed by the amazing work that Cheryl and her team have rolled out in a very short space of time, that it made complete sense to name her the winner. We know that mental health issues are on the rise among young people, and yet health resources are so stretched, it was really wonderful to read about the LightBulb programme and how it has already made such an impactful impression on our young people across the county.”

Since LightBulb was launched in 2021, the programme has been delivered at 32 schools and reached more than 11,500 children. But, the LightBulb team is already looking at how they can take the programme to a national level.

Cheryl said: “To be named the winner of such a prestigious award is such a huge honour and frankly I was rather overwhelmed when my name was called out. I would like to thank the judges and the Changemaker hosts for inviting me and for this stunning award. However, I can’t actually take all the credit for this prize, as I have such a brilliant team behind me who are the ones that go into the schools and deliver the programme.

“Collectively, we feel so passionately about helping young people who may really be struggling with their mental health but not understanding their feelings. We know from experience that children don’t always recognise what is going on and sometimes hide their emotions, but that can be where the problems start. So by educating the children about their feelings, how to recognise them and how to ask to help, we’re giving them permission to open up conversations about it. LightBulb is also about educating teachers, carers and parents so they can spot the signs early too and take appropriate action.

“The LightBulb team firmly believes that by raising more awareness and educating children and the people around them, then we start to try to prevent more serious and complex mental health conditions from developing in the first place.”

The LightBulb programme is suitable for both primary and secondary schools up and down the country. Due to St Andrew’s Healthcare being a charity, the programme is not a profit-making initiative and will only cost the school £1 per pupil if commissioned.

To view a video about LightBulb, click here.

For more information or to sign up to LightBulb email

Posted on Jun 29 2022 by Fiona Bailey