BACP welcomes calls from the Northern Ireland Children's Commissioner, Koulla Yiasouma to expand the existing counselling support available in secondary schools to make it available to all primary school pupils across Northern Ireland.

We know that mental health issues are now manifesting in children and young people of all ages and there is a strong case for much earlier intervention support through our primary schools to help tackle the mental health crisis emerging among children and young people in Northern Ireland.

Steve Mulligan, BACP's Four Nations Lead said, "We have a proud track record of working closely with the Department for Education over the past decade to support the development and implementation of the pioneering Independent Counselling Service for Schools (ICSS). Many of our members in Northern Ireland make a vital contribution in delivering this important service to children and young people across Northern Ireland.

"We would like to see this successful programme being extended to support younger children and provide much earlier stigma free support before problems escalate. We have written to the Education Minister, Peter Weir MLA to request an early discussion on this critical issue as he begins to identify his priorities for the Department."