BACP believes that all children and young people in UK secondary schools should have access to professional, qualified counselling services in their schools.
Our Senior Lead Advisor for Children and Young People, Karen Cromarty, appeared live on BBC One's Breakfast programme this morning. Karen talked about counselling in schools following the release of a report by The Children's Society about the happiness of children in the UK.
The Good Childhood Report 2015 looks at the wellbeing of 10 and 12-year-old children across 15 countries. The report calls for the UK Government to make it a legal requirement for schools in England to provide counselling to pupils, which would echo policies already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society, said:
"We're calling for the Government to make it a legal requirement for schools in England to provide counselling and to allocate children's mental health funding to promoting children's well-being, rather than just dealing with mental health problems after they occur."
We fully support The Children's Society in their recommendation, which has been a long-standing campaigning objective for BACP and call on the Government to set out a strategy to provide all children in secondary schools with professional, qualified counselling services in their school.
Karen, who recently appeared in front of the Youth Select Committee as part of their Inquiry into Mental Health at the House of Commons, said to the BBC:
"A myriad of problems affect children and young people today. About a third of children who go to school counselling talk about family problems. Following that, they talk about how to manage their anger, bereavement, stress, problems with school, problems with relationships; so a really wide range of difficulties.
"75% of mental health problems in adults start in childhood and 75% of those aren't diagnosed or identified. Young people who have mental health difficulties often don't have anybody to talk to. This means that their problems are not being addressed, and are carried on into adulthood.
"Children must find somebody they can trust to talk to about the problems they're having. Often children don't want any action, they just want to be listened to, and that's one of the success stories of counselling in schools. One of the reasons children go to counselling is that they say they like to speak to someone who is independent and outside of the problem.
"Northern Ireland and Wales have counsellors in all of their secondary schools. Their Governments have national strategies and have provided ring-fenced funding for counselling in schools. The situation is not the same in England, despite the Department for Education encouraging schools to provide counselling, we don't have a national strategy and we don't have any funding provided."
We ask the Government to recognise the benefits of counselling in schools and listen to the growing pressure from the public, mental health professionals and organisations like BACP and The Children's Society. By providing the support and funding to make counselling in all UK schools a reality, the Government will have made a valuable investment in the future mental health of the nation.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, on Wednesday 19 August, 2015. For more information subscribe and follow http://www.pressat.co.uk/