We’ve called on the Government to invest in a trained professional counsellor in every secondary school and college in England as part of our 10-point submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The submission is the latest stage of our campaign for a national commitment to counselling provision for all children in England’s secondary schools, to bring the country into line with the other nations of the UK.

Our recommendation makes it clear how counselling can complement existing investment by providing a cost-effective and universal, non-stigmatising early intervention.

It will help those young people who do not meet the threshold for support for CAMHS but need more help than can be offered through the ongoing roll-out of mental health support teams.

Martin Bell, our deputy head of policy and public affairs, said: “Counsellors currently working with children and young people play a critical role in supporting this age group with a wide range of issues that impact on their mental health and well-being.

“It’s crucial that school counselling services are supported and funded in England to meet this anticipated increase in demand, and to bring the country in line with the other nations.

“We urge the Government to ensure all children and young people have access to this vital form of mental health support.  There was a need for a funded school and college counselling programme before Covid-19, but it is now more important than ever.”

Martin added: "We'd like to thank the three thousand BACP members and supporters who've taken part in our campaign by writing to their MPs.

"We're seeing positive indications that MPs are supporting our ask, with more than 40% of the response letters shared with us confirming they'll write to Treasury ministers on behalf of their constituents to support the call for investment in school-based counselling."

Find out more about our schools counselling campaign and how you can get involved.

Our 10-point submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review includes a series of recommendations for investment in counselling and psychotherapy.

It includes a call for a cross-departmental mental health action plan to respond to the coronavirus crisis and funding for bereavement support to ensure consistent access to quality services including support for people who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.

Other asks in the submission include free relationship counselling to lower-income families and support for employers, employees and vulnerable groups through workplace counselling.

We’re also calling for the role of counselling and psychotherapy to be enhanced within the NHS workforce and for a VAT exemption to be extended to counselling and psychotherapy services provided by Professional Standards Authority registered and accredited members.

Martin said: “This Comprehensive Spending Review is an important opportunity for the Government to invest in counselling and psychotherapy and the skills of our members to support the mental health of the nation.

“The impact of Covid-19 on people’s mental health and expected increased demand for services, can only be met by additional funding and capacity across a range of sectors, including education, bereavement services, relationship support and the NHS.

“We need a clear mental health action plan from the Government, which includes our members as a central part of the response to dealing with the pandemic.”