In December, after nearly a year of waiting, the UK Government published its green paper on children and young people's mental health. Having been announced by the Prime Minister back in January 2017, we finally got to see what proposals were being put forward for transforming mental health services for children and young people in England.
While we were encouraged by the Government’s commitment to improving children and young people's mental health, we are greatly concerned that what is proposed won’t deliver real change for young people in this country. The Government’s plans fall short of what is needed and we want to encourage ministers to reconsider these proposals and I am asking for your support.
We were particularly disappointed that the proposals did not include a commitment to a universal provision of counselling in schools, despite the Department for Education’s own expectation that counselling services should be made available to all pupils in England (as set out in its 2016 ‘Counselling in schools’ guidance). A universal provision that is already available to young people in Wales and Northern Ireland, and which has been shown to reduce the number of onward referrals to specialist services, one of the ambitions set out by the Government in the green paper. Support which has also been shown to deliver improvements in pupil attendance and attainment, reductions in exclusion rates by almost a third as well as being an intervention viewed positively by teachers, parents and carers and children and young people themselves.
We are also dismayed that there is little acknowledgement of the important role that trained counsellors and psychotherapists already play in many schools and colleges and instead put forward proposals to train a new cohort of practitioners to coordinate and deliver mental health and wellbeing programmes in schools.
I am urging members to join us in calling on the Government to reconsider the role of counselling and make sure the voice of the profession is heard.
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
You can find more information on the Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision green paper campaign pages.
Let’s give Government the strongest message that all children and young people should have access to counselling in their schools and colleges regardless of where they live in the UK.
This is the first in a series of blogs and updates on the campaign over the coming weeks. Keeping check back on the website for further developments. If you want to get in touch, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org