School Counselor

As a High School Guidance teacher, I have seen first hand how difficult it is for young people with mental health difficulties to access help from professionals. While I do my very best to support the pupils in my care (alongside my teaching responsibilities), I am not a trained counselor. Either Guidance teachers need more specific training on how to help pupils with mental health difficulties (although our time is already severely restricted with the increasing number of pupils requiring our support in a wide variety of ways), or schools need to have designated counselors who can provide mental health support to pupils. 

National resources for lessons on mental health should also be created. This would raise pupils awareness of mental health and neurodiversity, with the aim of empowering pupils to learn how they can live their lives positively and help break the stigma surrounding mental health.

Why the contribution is important

A school counselor/trained guidance teacher would help with earlier interventions, helping to prevent pupils' mental health deteriorating to a point where it is having a major impact on their lives.

A national program of mental health lessons in schools would help with reducing stigma around mental health. It would also encourage pupils to get help earlier, as well as enpowering teenagers to make even small changes in their lives to improve their mental health.

by dowa on December 03, 2018 at 10:38PM

Current Rating

5.0
Average score : 5.0
Based on : 3 votes

Comments

  • Posted by mdrys December 05, 2018 at 12:28

    I agree completely with the idea of a school counsellor based in every school. Having previously worked for a charity which provided this level of early intervention support across 4 high schools, i have seen first hand the immense benefits from this type of work. A young persons counsellor is specifically trained to approach and support young people through difficult times experienced due to mental health and other factors.
    I know that our team of counsellors worked compassionately and tirelessly, while funding from the local council was available, to meet the needs of their school base to the point where waiting lists were piling up with pupils requiring this level of qualified support.
    In my opinion this early intervention is what is needed for young people and can be beneficial in the reduction of waiting lists for CAMHS and/or further supported needed in adulthood.
    Every young person deserves the right to access free mental health support at their easiest convenience and a qualified school based counsellor can do this.
  • Posted by JoanneWaddell December 11, 2018 at 10:25

    I am currently a volunteer counsellor and have worked in both primary and secondary schools and seen the impact of this service for those who need regular support with their mental health. There is now more mental health awareness in schools and teachers and other staff can also receive training to recognise and support children and young people who may be experiencing difficulties.
    However for those who need longer and more regular intervention, support school based counselling services are essential to ensure this help is available at the earliest opportunity. CAMHS cannot support all children and receiving counselling in schools is also convenient meaning children do not miss out on their education. There is much evidence that confirms the impact of school based counselling with measurable improvements in emotional wellbeing, relationships and reduced behavioural difficulties. Both teachers and parents can evidence this and are also able to reflect on the positive impact it has at home and in the classroom.
    Whilst much of the work qualified counsellors undertake is 1:1 they are also often able to offer "drop in" and group work to children and young people who might need this different level of support.
    The Scottish Government has already committed funding to support counselling services in secondary schools but with children in primary and special needs schools also struggling this service should be extended further.
  • Posted by GillG December 13, 2018 at 12:42

    I absolutely agree with this. As a former teacher and now as a school-based counsellor I have seen first hand the difference early intervention can have. The best way to provide this early intervention is to enable access for all pupils to a qualified counsellor within their school. Yes teachers should be trained in mental health (and many already are) but this is not the same as having an experienced qualified counsellor on hand. Teachers are already stretched and taking on the responsibility of working with young people with mental health difficulties (often without support or supervision) is beyond what should be expected of them. Young people often want to talk confidentially to an independent adult rather than a teacher. A school-based counsellor can provide 1-to-1 counselling, group work, and a drop in service so pupils can get help as soon as a difficulty arises. This could help keep CAMHS waiting lists down and stop mental health difficulties becoming long term issues into adulthood.
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