As the director of a school counselling service, I’ve witnessed first-hand the huge increase in children and young people needing mental health support since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The start of the autumn school term after six months away from the classroom for many young people has seen referrals to our service rise even more sharply.
Now, more than ever before, young people are struggling with how they feel. Many are extremely anxious and scared. Family relationships are tense, some young people do not want to add to the burden of worrying their parents and find it difficult to talk to other people they know.
Professional counselling in schools can and does make a difference.
Counsellors are often the first person to spot when a young person is on the edge and when he or she needs help.
They’re often the ones who look beyond what are described as behavioural problems to really listen and understand the difficulties that child has faced in their life and most importantly help the child work out what might help them.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen MPs across the country recognise the importance of having a counsellor in every school, academy and further education college, with their responses to emails sent to them as part of BACP’s school counselling campaign.
Now we have a chance to take the next step and urge MPs to back a call for a debate in Parliament on this.
We know there is a professionally trained workforce of children and young people’s counsellors and counselling service organisations available to support young people in many schools across England. But coverage is patchy and funding is unsustainable.
This year's World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10 October) highlights the effects of the pandemic on everyone's mental health and calls for increased investment in mental health for all.
It’s time for the government to wake up, shape up and then ‘cough up’ to fund counselling provision in every school in England and allow young people to get help quickly.
We need your support now
Thank you for the support you gave by writing to your MP, asking them to urge the Treasury to make a financial commitment for a sustainable school counselling programme for the next four years, as part of the comprehensive spending review.
We’re calling on you to help us once again by asking your MP to support an early day motion, raised by Jon Trickett MP.
This early day motion could lead to a Parliamentary debate on school counselling investment, and keep pressure on Government to act.
We've created a letter template asking MPs and ministers alike to lend their support to the early day motion.
Just use the link at the top of this page to send this letter direct to your MP.
School counselling campaign gaining support thanks to our members
Early Day Motion calls on government to allocate resources to counselling provision in England secondary schools
‘At the beginning I only went to school for the counselling sessions’
Watch Daisy talk about how a counsellor helped her cope with anxiety and return to school
'My counsellor listened to me, now I'm more confident'
Watch Ryan, 14, talk about how counselling helped him after his friend died
Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.