We believe that the use of robust evidence and routine evaluation are core principles that should underpin any new policy. It is essential that any Government, Department or commissioning body takes an evidence-informed approach to tackle policy challenges.

This is no truer than in the case of mental health policy. For too long Governments have failed to take account of the breadth of evidence supporting different forms of intervention and in the case of the green paper the evidence for the effectiveness of counselling services in schools and colleges seems to have been overlooked.

Delving deeper into the evidence for counselling in schools and colleges, Dr Sue Pattison and Dr Maggie Robson from the executive of BACP Children and Young People division said:

“Counselling provided in the school or college context is an accessible, professional and effective form of support for psychological wellbeing and a therapeutic service for mild to moderate mental health issues for children and young people in the UK1.

“Currently, this provision, provided by highly trained counsellors, is available in 61% of UK schools2. Research has shown that counselling in schools is highly valued by children and young people and has positive outcomes3 with a humanistic approach seeming particularly beneficial4.

“One of the strengths of counselling based in schools is its accessibility for vulnerable young people who are struggling at home or at school. They are able to access counselling without the stigma of going to an outside agency or GP. They are offered a confidential service that no one else need know about unless there is a threat of harm to them or others.

“The professional training undertaken by school counsellors is rigorous and equips them with the knowledge and skills to work with children and young people in age-appropriate ways and with a range of issues that cause psychological distress and mild to moderate mental health problems.

“BACP has developed a set of competences for working with children and young people (11-18) and counsellors who are members of BACP who work with children and young people must meet these competences. In addition, BACP have developed a curriculum for training counsellors to work in this area.”

There are a range of ways you can get involved in the consultation process, including:

  • writing to your local MP through bacp.e-activist.com (this link will take you to an external site)
  • responding to the government consultation
  • engaging in the debate on social media #CYPGreenPaper2018

See earlier posts


1. Cooper and others, 2012; Hanley and others 2011
2. DfE, 2017
3. Cooper and others, 2014; Lynass and others, 2012
4. McArthur and others, 2013