BACP is part of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) for the CQC led Children and Young People’s Mental Health Review (CYPMHR) which today published its Review of children and young people's mental health services: Phase one report.

Our input into the review commissioned by the Prime Minister has very much been on promoting the positive impact that counselling can have on the emotional and mental wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those who are seen in a school setting. We’re pleased to see that the report acknowledges counselling in schools is effective, but confirms that there still are regional variations in school counselling provision.

It is also of great significance that the report also focuses on the opinions of children and young people themselves, who highlighted ‘a lack of support in schools’ as one of their key concerns, saying that they ‘want schools-based counselling to be available’.

BACP has long campaigned as an organisation for universal access to a school-based counsellor for all secondary schools across the UK. Despite Wales and Northern Ireland having national school-based counselling strategies; England has yet to demonstrate a similar support for children’s mental wellbeing.

Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair of BACP, said:

“BACP welcomes the CQC report and the opportunity to be involved in such an important review into children’s mental health. The report confirms what we already knew, that school counselling is effective and valued by children and young, but access is variable across the country.

“We remain concerned that despite the expectation set out in the Department for Education’s Counselling for schools: a blueprint for the future there has been no progress towards a trained counsellor in every secondary school in England. Without further political impetus England’s children will continue to remain behind their peers in Wales and Northern Ireland in terms of emotional support.

“Children in Northern Ireland and Wales have access to a school counsellor through government supported national programmes, while in England provision remains patchy.

“We know that school-based counselling is a cost-effective and proven early intervention which improves children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

“We believe that all children and young people of school age across the UK should have equal access to professional, qualified counselling services in their schools.”