The Holding Collective

The spotlight is shining on mental health and emotional wellbeing like never before. There is a growing sense – particularly with the Royal Foundation “Heads Together” campaign – that feelings matter and it’s not healthy for them to be hidden.


Here at The Holding Collective we are also committed to stopping the stigma of mental health and orchestrating mass change. We believe to be effective this change has to start with children and families.


However with 157,000 missed CAMHS appointments in 2016 costing the NHS over £45million reported by The Children’s Society (based on Freedom of Information data obtained from NHS mental health trusts) and with numerous other reports highlighting the issues, it’s clear that the current system is not working.


Our Solution

At The Holding Collective we believe three key elements are essential:

– Be systemic
– Focus on children
– Take place within their school setting

The therapeutic services model has been successfully piloted over four years, in a Primary School in north London and succesfully transferred to Secondary. The results are impressive.



About Us

The Holding Collective was set-up by us – Katy and Claire – in November 2017 as the result of many discussions over several years about adult and child mental health. The current landscape, several reports and our own experience gave us a sense of urgency.

As it is becoming more widely acknowledged across society that mental health or ‘mind health’ is as important as physical health, we’re specifically focused on children.

We both firmly believe that enabling early intervention in a school setting through the provision of a joined hand, in-house therapeutic service is a ‘no-brainer’.

Acknowledging and supporting the emotional needs of children can positively impact the whole of their lives. It’s absolutely essential to the healthy emotional wellbeing of young people and the adults they develop into.


Katy Whitney
(Photo by Nicky J Sims)

Katy trained as an adult counsellor and has been working therapeutically with children and families for over ten years. During her training as a Humanistic Counsellor, Katy specialised in working with adults affected by bereavement and completed three years as an honorary counsellor within the NHS.

Katy currently works across several schools – including Primary & Secondary special needs – as Pastoral Care and Safeguarding Lead where she is responsible for developing therapeutic, pastoral and safeguarding interventions.

Katy is a sought-after mental health expert, advising schools on therapeutic services and as Strategic Partner with Haringey. She most recently delivered a lecture to over 300 professionals at The Royal Society of Medicine’s 16th Medical Innovations Summit which provides a twice-yearly worldwide platform for the presentation and discussion of inspirational ideas and developments in the field of medicine and healthcare.

Katy’s next speaking engagement on the therapeutic services model is at the Mental Health in Schools Conference 29 June 2018 in Birmingham.


Claire Bardner

Claire is a charity professional, moving into the Third Sector after a successful career in marketing, becoming an award-winning inventor and social entrepreneur.

Claire has evaluated and developed strategy for War Child UK’s schools programme and was Network Development Officer at the Association of Charitable Organisations supporting benevolent funds who give grants and financial support to individuals in need.

Claire is now on a mission with Katy to promote and embed therapeutic services in UK schools. She has extensive experience in CYP mental health and has particular interest in NPD, domestic abuse/ coercive control and trauma. Claire is also working with Katy on a project to develop pioneering Zero Suicide PSHE resources for schools.


Awards & Speaking Engagements

Key Reports

If you're interested in CYPMH we hope you find these reports as insightful as we have.
Stick with us: Tackling missed appointments in children’s mental health services”
Report by The Children’s Society based on Freedom of Information data obtained from NHS mental health trusts. September 2017
Lighting Review: Access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services”
Report by The Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield May 2016
“Future in Mind – Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing”
Report of the work of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce. March 2015
“Keeping young people in mind – findings from a survey of schools across England” to gain greater understanding of the mental health issues they are facing
Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Children’s Bureau February 2016
“Mental ill-health among children of the new century: trends across childhood with a focus on age 14.”
Patalay P & Fitzsimons E. Centre for Longitudinal Studies: UCL Institute of Education, London September 2017
“Children’s and Adolescents’ mental health and CAMHS”
House of Commons Health Select Committee Third Report of Session 2014-2015 Published 5 November 2014
"Transforming CYPMH Provision: a Green Paper"
Secretary of State for Health & Secretary of State for Education December 2017 Government Green Paper Dec 2017


The Holding Collective is not-for-profit and is in the process of applying to become a Registered Charity regulated by the Charity Commission. We are now seeking funding from individuals and organisations who share our ethos and passion for investing in children’s emotional wellbeing. If you would like to fund any aspect of our work or are interested to discuss this further, please contact us:

Contact Us

If you have any questions or are interested to know more, we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at