Brief Educational Workshops in Secondary Schools Trial

are we?

We are a team of researchers who are passionate about improving the mental health of young people. We understand why young people can be reluctant to seek help, including long waiting lists for existing support services. We have therefore been keen to evaluate effective treatments that young people will want to use and can access easily.

We are running BESST, a large clinical trial for 900 students in 4 regions of England. This trial is funded by the NIHR and led by King’s College London. It is investigating whether the DISCOVER day-long workshop program delivered in sixth-forms is able to help older adolescents in reducing depression and anxiety. The programme is designed to be accessible and non-stigmatising in order to reach young people in schools and colleges.

We will be analysing results this summer to assess the effectiveness of the DISCOVER programme. The results will inform us of the potential of the programme as a routine/frontline education-based mental health care provision. This intervention may have the potential to positively impact the mental health of 16-18-year-olds.

Follow the progress of BESST as we work towards a brighter future for the mental wellbeing of young people.


BESST has garnered significant engagement and collaboration from 6th forms, students, and NHS services across England. Here are four key snapshots of the demographic details

Our ambitious trial includes representation from regions within London, Midlands, Southwest, and Northwest England.

We have collaborated with 15 different NHS Teams across England, all trained to deliver the DISCOVER workshop.

Our clinical trial has received support from 57 state sixth forms in England.

A remarkable 900 sixth form students, seeking help for stress, have enrolled to participate in BESST.

Our Partners

BESST is funded by the National Institute for Health Research. The trial has been set up by King’s College London, in collaboration with Anna Freud Centre, Bath University, University of Northampton, Middlesex University, and the DISCOVER team at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Trust.

Workshop delivery is supported by multiple NHS trusts across England, with training and guidance from the DISCOVER Team at SLaM.

A total of 57 schools across England have generously volunteered to host the trial.


The DISCOVER workshop programme is an award-winning, school-based programme for sixth-form students who experience stress, worry or low mood.

This workshop programme was developed with a Teenage Advisory Group of 16-18 year olds to more easily reach young people. The DISCOVER program is aimed at equipping young people with practical skills to manage stress, worry, and other challenges they may face in their academic and personal lives.

The DISCOVER programme offers evidence-based psychological guidance and methods rooted in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), delivered through engaging and interactive workshops by trained mental health professionals.

The programme aims to provide teenagers with information and strategies to help them handle ongoing stresses, including help with procrastination, poor sleep, excess worrying, and time management. Programme participants also receive 1:1 sessions with a member of the DISCOVER team before and after the workshop and access to a web-based app that supports them in maintaining their progress.

To learn more about the workshop programme, you can visit the dedicated DISCOVER website.