We’re campaigning to challenge the decision to end funding for a vital primary school counselling programme that makes a positive difference in children’s lives across Northern Ireland.

Healthy Happy Minds has provided access to counselling and other therapy interventions – including art, music, drama, and play therapy –  in 566 primary schools.

But it was announced last week that funding will end on 31 March and the programme will cease, because of budget pressures.

This will leave children without crucial counselling support and the therapists who provide these services facing financial uncertainty.

How to help

We’re calling on people in Northern Ireland to back our campaign to urge the Department of Education to secure this vital service and extend the funding and secure this vital service.

Our online tool makes it easy for you to email your MLA and MP a template message. The email highlights the positives of the scheme and encourages your elected representative to contact the Department of Education and ask for funding to continue.

If you’re not in Northern Ireland, you can still show your support for the campaign and for school counselling by tweeting using the hashtag #HealthyHappyMinds

Action must be taken

Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, said:  “We want to highlight to politicians in Northern Ireland that action must be taken to save this amazing project. Stopping funding now will be catastrophic.

Speaking to a school counsellor can be a transformative experience for children and young people. It can help them cope with the difficult circumstances they face in their lives - and to go on and flourish in the future.

“We’ve heard from headteachers and parents how Healthy Happy Minds has boosted children’s confidence, helped them understand and talk about their emotions. It provides vital early-intervention, which can help prevent children reach crisis point.

“We’re determined to fight for the programme’s future and ensure children and their families continue to receive this vital counselling support. We’re also concerned for the therapists who have provided these essential counselling interventions and who now face their own financial uncertainty.

“Please join us to share the positives of Healthy Happy Minds,  and help us to secure cross party support from politicians in Northern Ireland so we can together  challenge the Department of Education’s decision and save the programme.”

Our campaign is supported by the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). Together, we represent more than 3,000 therapists in Northern Ireland.

Send an email and support our campaign.