In publishing their manifesto, Labour has pledged to have a qualified counsellor in every school. This would be such a great step forward for promoting mental health by providing support to young people, many of which are vulnerable and by normalising counselling and personal support.
This is not new though. In 2017, apparently the government were looking at the possibility of having a counsellor in every school and in 2018 the children’s commissioner for England and Wales said that every school should have a counsellor. I’m sure if we looked further we’d find numerous reports and studies stating the same. We’re all aware of what the election hopefuls pledge and what they deliver are two very different things, however, this increased recognition of the importance of providing support to young people can only be a good thing.
As a counsellor who worked in a school for many years, I can see how vital this support is and I’d hope that the proposed provision of support will be a comfort for parents. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy have lobbied all parties to provide this support with costings and have stressed ‘School counselling is often the only opportunity young people have to access vital support, because they face long waits for NHS services or do not meet the threshold for that care’.
With almost a new survey popping up every month highlighting the lack of services for young people and the increase in young people seeking help for mental health issues, it highlights the absolute need for more services. It’s a concern that young people cannot easily access the help they need. For example, being unsupported often leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms that then become habit forming into adulthood causing further problems for the individual and those close to them. Not being able to access help can leave people being defeated or they can develop behaviours that harm themselves and others. Developing healthy coping mechanisms at a young age can set a person on a strong path for life. The opposite is also unfortunately true.
Bacp.co.uk. (2019). Labour Party announces commitment to a qualified counsellor in every school. [online] Available at: https://www.bacp.co.uk/news/campaigns/general-election-2019/11-november-labour-party-announces-commitment-to-a-qualified-counsellor-in-every-school/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
Schools Week. (2017). Government ‘looking at’ demand for mental health counsellor in every school. [online] Available at: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/government-looking-at-demand-for-mental-health-counsellor-in-every-school/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
Tes. (2018). ‘Every school SHOULD have a counsellor’. [online] Available at: https://www.tes.com/news/every-school-should-have-counsellor [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].