October 2018

We welcome Scottish government funding for school counselling

We were delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Clare Haughey MSP, the new Mental Health Minister for Scotland, at Holyrood in September.

Our meeting followed the announcement that the Scottish Government is to invest more than £80 million to support 430 new counsellors in Scotland's schools, colleges and universities. This is in response to our intensive campaigning.

We reinforced with the minister the importance of ensuring that all new roles are paid positions and for appropriately qualified counsellors. They must be trained to work with young people and registered with BACP, COSCA or a PSA-equivalent professional body. We also offered to support the Scottish government through the implementation process.

We'll keep you updated through Therapy Today and this webpage.

September 2018

Campaign success in Scotland

We’re delighted that the Scottish Government plan to invest £80m for counsellors in education as part of a package to support wellbeing and prevent mental ill-health for young people.

In their Programme of Government, Delivering for Today, Investing for Tomorrow, the Scottish Government has pledged to recruit 430 new school, college and university counsellors and improve access to counselling for families and new mothers who face mental health problems during their pregnancy.

Where the money will be spent:

  • £60m to support around 350 new counsellors and ensure that every secondary school has a counselling service
  • £20m for 80 additional counsellors in Further and Higher Education over the next four years
  • Developing services for 5-24 year olds and their parents, to provide direct and immediate access to counselling sessions, self-care advice, family support, peer-to-peer support and group work with links to other care settings
  • Improving access to perinatal counselling services so that 11,000 women a year who would benefit from counselling will receive this support from the third sector, alongside more intensive psychological support for those who need it.

Our campaign

This success wouldn’t be possible without the support or members and follows almost a decade of intensive campaigning and lobbying with our partners, including the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), Scottish Children Services Coalition (SCSC) and National Union of Students Scotland.

Much of our success has been driven by the political support we’ve built for school-based counselling. In 2009 we secured the support of the labour party, followed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Greens in the run up to the 2011 Holyrood elections and later the Scottish Conservatives.

We’ve built strong relations with the SNP led Scottish Government and the last Mental Health Minister, Maureen Watt MSP, helped launch our new counselling qualification earlier this year.

In 2017, we worked with NUS Scotland to influence the Government and improve access to counselling for students in further and higher education

Next steps

We’re meeting with the new Mental Health Minister on 18 September to reinforce that the investment needs to use the existing workforce of highly qualified counsellors. And we’ll be offering to help the Government with a framework to support this investment, as we’ve done in Wales and Northern Ireland.

England is the only part of the UK without publicly funded provision and we’ll be redoubling our campaigning efforts to challenge the UK Government to end the injustice and ensure that vulnerable young people in England have the same access to counselling support in schools.

June 2018