Two influential reports on children and young people’s mental health have urged the government to increase funding for support – including school counselling.

The Health and Social Care Select Committee has published findings from its inquiry on children and young people’s mental health.

And the Centre for Mental Health and Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition’s Time for Action report exploring the investment needed for a comprehensive children and young people’s mental health system.

Health and Social Care Select Committee report

Contributors to the select committee report called for investment in universal school counselling provision.

And a key recommendation of the report was the introduction of early intervention support through a national network of community-based hubs.

The hubs would ensure young people have appropriate and timely access to the mental health support they need and was one of the key recommendations of the report.

We’re pleased to read this as we’re campaigning for both of these investments.

The report said mental health support services for children and young people were still far from delivering effective care and that there was a lack of Government urgency and ambition around expanding access to mental health support.

Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “It’s great to see a commitment to both community-based hubs and school counselling, as well as backing the need for further investment in mental health support teams (MHSTs).

“We know that in areas where MHSTs are established and there is an established referral system to school or community based counselling provision this then provides a step care approach to more specialist provision, provided by trained, experienced children and young people, paid counsellors.”

“What’s also fantastic to see is the report stresses that children and young people’s mental health is referred to as an all-society issue, which can only be tackled by Government departments, local government and the health system working together to promote good mental health and prevent further crises emerging.”

Time for action report

The Centre for Mental Health and Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition have highlighted historic underinvestment in support and the resulting postcode lottery.

The Time for action report says investment priorities should be more support for infant wellbeing, a whole school approach to mental health and early support hubs for young people.

Among the reports proposed solutions, it says: “As part of an effective whole school approach, the Government should make school counselling available to every child who needs it, at a cost of £118m per year (rising to £130m after five years). This would fund 2,623 FTE counsellors in schools to support 341,000 children who have mental health support needs across all English state secondary schools.”

Jo added: “It’s fantastic to see this report putting the emphasis on funding counsellors in schools.

“We’ll continue to campaign for increased investment in counselling for children and young people and hope these reports are another step towards our goals.”