Compulsory mental health counselling for secondary schools

The Local Government Association (LGA) has said that every secondary school in the country should be given the funding to offer independent mental health counselling to all pupils.

The government has pledged a total of £1.7 billion for children and young people’s mental health and well-being. Part of the LGA’s Bright Futures campaign, the association is calling for services that change children’s lives to be properly funded, urging for five per cent of this funding, which translates to roughly £90 million, to be used to make it mandatory for every pupil in secondary and alternative education provision to have access to on-site school counselling services.

At least one in 10 children have a diagnosed mental health condition and almost 19,000 children were admitted to hospital after harming themselves in 2015. According to local government leaders, nearly 75 per cent of young people experiencing a mental health problem are not able to access any treatment because of a lack of early intervention services and stigmas around asking for help.

Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ““Providing just a small proportion of the funding it is spending on mental health support nationally to ensure every school provides on-site counselling, is one way the government can ensure every child and young person enjoys the bright future they deserve.

“Mental health problems are very common and not something children should feel ashamed about. Good emotional health and well-being is also about learning to be resilient to life’s setbacks and negative emotions. They may be facing personal problems outside of school that they feel that they are unable to talk to somebody about or in the current climate, it could be that they are seeking reassurance to cope with modern stresses such as social media pressures, sexual exploitation and negative body image.”

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