A toolkit for counsellors working with young people in schools and community setting has been published.

We’ve been pleased to work with the Welsh Government over the past year on the document, which is a set of good practice guidelines for counsellors working with young people from Year 6 upwards.

The updated content has been reviewed in the past few months to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes information on the use of online counselling, especially relevant now as so many counsellors have switched to this because of the pandemic.

Announcing its publication, Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said coronavirus meant it was now more important than ever that young people have “early and easy access to good quality counselling which is proven to help prevent emotional health issues developing or becoming more serious.”

She added: “The current Covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly mean that many children and young people who previously might not have required mental health support are more likely to need it now and in the future.”

We were part of a school-based counselling working group which helped to update the 2011 version of the document.

This has also included our members, counselling practitioners and service managers in Wales.

Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “This fantastic document will provide crucial support for counsellors and services, not just at this challenging time, but into the future as well. The guidance with in it will support counsellors as they in turn support young people struggling with the change and uncertainties with a range of issues linked to change, loss, isolation, family worries, and other issues.

"It will help give them the information they need to provide a high-quality service, deliver value for money and improve outcomes for children and young people.

“It has been a great example of counsellors and services coming together and working with us and the Welsh Government to put together a document that we can all be really proud of.”

In April, the Welsh Government has announced an extra £1.25 million of funding to strengthen the delivery of school counselling services to support children and young people’s mental health during the coronavirus crisis.

The Government said the additional funding was to help prepare services for the anticipated increase in demand and would help them offer services remotely while schools were closed.