Members of the House of Lords have called for increased counselling in schools and community services, following a question about the mental health and wellbeing support available for children and young people.

Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government’s representative in the House of Lords whether mental health services for young people will be expanded to deal with concerns expressed during the Covid-19 pandemic; and if so, how.

She added: “Some 80% of young people say that their mental health has become worse during the Covid pandemic. Will the Government urgently expand services for young people through increased counselling in schools and community services? Otherwise, the human and financial costs will be enormous.”

We briefed Baroness Massey and other peers who took part in the debate ahead of the session and provided her with these statistics.

Our briefing highlighted that trained, professional counsellors and psychotherapists are immediately available to support the nation through the mental health crisis facing our children and young people.

Some of the peers used the information we had provided during the speeches in the debate.

Baroness Massey of Darwen

Baroness Massey of Darwen

Our briefing also said how counsellors and psychotherapists have played a vital role on the frontline of this epidemic supporting vulnerable young people though the challenges brought by the pandemic and lockdown, and that we’re keen to extend this support to all young people, through accessible and universal provision.

Lord Bishop of Carlisle told how he had spoken to a young person whose father had died recently of Covid-19 and heard that impact this had on her mental health.

He added: “I am therefore grateful for the reassurance from the Minister that Her Majesty’s Government will be strengthening access to mental health services in our schools and, I hope, in our colleges and universities. Are there any plans for bereavement support and counselling to form part of that provision?”

Department for Education spokesman Lord Bethell responded with information about the investment the Government had already made in children’s mental health.

Lord Bethel

Lord Bethel

He responded to Lord Bishop to say that he would take away his suggestion about bereavement support and ask what more could be done.

Steve Mulligan, our Four Nations Lead, said: “It was very positive to hear so many members of the Lords echoing our words about the urgent need for Government to invest in counselling for children and young people, echoing our current campaign.

“It was particularly interesting to see Lord Bethell commit to seeing what more can be done about counselling and bereavement support for young people. We hope some further action will come of this.” 

“We need to keep these issues on the Parliamentary agenda and we’ll continue to campaign and work with MPs and Lords to promote our members’ expertise and the difference their work makes in people’s lives.”