At any one time it's estimated that 1 in 10 children are suffering from a mental health issue. There's a need across the spectrum of ages and stages for accessible suitable psychological therapies, to be available when and where required.

75% of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience the first symptoms by the age of 24, which highlights the need to intervene early.

The impact that a family can have on a child's development and life chances is key, and is why we created our children, young people and families strategy.

Our aims

Working with members and partner organisations, we aim to:

  • increase understanding of the effectiveness of counselling and psychotherapy for children, young people and families as a response to mental health needs
  • influence policy and decision makers to recognise the mental health needs of children, young people and families
  • persuade policy and decision makers of the relevance of counselling and psychotherapy in supporting the mental health of children, young people and families

To achieve these aims we will work towards ensuring that:

  • all our activity in relation to children and young people reflects the importance of the family
  • every child and young person in the UK has access to a trained counsellor within their secondary school or college
  • those who cannot access counselling through schools still have access to quality therapeutic intervention at the right time and location for them

We will gather evidence to show:

  • what works for the younger population
  • the benefits of intervening early and how this can improve the impact of adverse childhood experiences, save costs and contribute to social justice
  • how counselling has changed children and young people's lives

We will ensure that our policy and positions reflect children and young people's views and needs and that this is reflected in the services they receive from our members.

Related links

If you would like further information on our work within the BACP children, young people and families strategy, please email


1. Brown et al, 2012
2. Kessler et al, 2005; McGorry et al, 2007
3. Morrison Gutman et al, 2015
4. McManus et al, 2009
5. Mental Health Foundation, 2002
6. Almqvist and Brandell-Forsberg, 1997; Sack, et al, 1999
7. Luke et al, 2014