A new mental health therapy pioneered in Kingston and Merton is successfully helping children at risk of being taken into custody or care.

Initial reports suggest work by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust’s pilot of multisystemic therapy (MST) has worked at keeping those aged 11 to 17 at home with their families and in school.

The trust found that by the time of discharge from the scheme, more than 90 per cent of children were still at home, more than two-thirds were attending the school provided by their local authority.

The mother of one family who received MST with the trust said: “We had been struggling with my daughter’s behaviour. When she became stressed, she would become physically aggressive and attack me or her sister.

“MST helped us to draw up rules about behaviour and introduce a structure. The therapist was non-judgmental and worked closely with me and my husband visiting us twice a week at home.

“Since we completed the therapy we have had far fewer blow-ups. When I asked my daughter why she thought MST had worked she said, ‘It made me realise I couldn't behave like that anymore.’”

MST is a home and family-based therapy aimed at combating antisocial behaviour.