Why counselling and therapy is needed in schools
Mental health issues are a growing concern. In 2020 the NHS digital survey of children and young people’s mental health in England found that one in six children aged 5-16 had a probable mental disorder. That is an average of five in every classroom.
Poor mental health can impact on every aspect of children’s lives. Often they arrive at school too distressed to engage with learning. They can struggle to concentrate in class, their behaviour can be challenging and they may find it difficult to form healthy relationships with peers and school staff.
Without appropriate support mental health difficulties can stay with young people throughout their adult lives and seriously impact on their long-term health and wellbeing. This can lead to self-medication through drugs/alcohol, self-harm and even suicide.
“I felt worthless. I didn’t want to speak to anyone. I just felt isolated and alone”
Girl, aged 11
How we help
Our counsellors and therapists work in primary, secondary and special schools helping pupils to come to terms with their difficulties and address issues causing distress. This may be due to a range of experiences including abuse, bereavement, neglect or domestic violence.
For younger children we often use play therapy, or other creative arts therapies, to help explore painful issues children may struggle to communicate verbally.
As a result of these early intervention services children and young people are able to understand their feelings better, develop greater resilience and are better able to cope with the challenges they face. This leads to significant improvements in their wellbeing and their ability to engage fully in school life.
“Having someone to speak to about my problems has helped me so much… I’m calmer and don’t feel so sad anymore’’
Boy, aged 13
What we offer
Our services are flexible and can be tailored to the needs of each school. However, our core offer includes providing:
1. Qualified and experienced counsellor/therapists to work on-site at school during term-time for an agreed number of days per week (all staff hold membership of an appropriate professional body e.g. BACP).
2. Monthly clinical supervision for the counsellor/therapist with a qualified clinical supervisor.
3. CPD, child protection training and DBS checks for the counsellor/therapist.
4. Regular line-management for the counsellor/therapist with a ConnectEd Service Manager (a highly experienced mental health professional).
5. Resources for use during sessions (where play/art/drama and other creative arts therapies may be used to support engagement with pupils).
6. Full insurance including Employers Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance.
7. Bespoke training and consultations for school staff and parents to help support a ‘whole school approach’ to mental health and emotional wellbeing.
8. A formal Service Level Agreement with provisions for reducing your fee if the counsellor/therapist is absent for any reason (illness, compassionate leave etc.).
9. Support for schools in accessing and working in partnership with external services such as social care and CAMHS.
10. An annual report providing full details of the work delivered and outcomes achieved (useful for supporting self-evaluations for Ofsted).
11. Access to our ‘Crisis Fund’ which provides immediate financial support for families facing a crisis (we will respond to an application from your Headteacher within 24 hours)
Improving children’s futures
By providing support at an early stage we give vulnerable children the tools they need to improve their mental health and unlock their full potential. Ultimately this ensures they can overcome the disadvantages they face and have better chances in life.
“It is an excellent service. We’ve seen real improvements in the wellbeing of pupils, putting them in a far stronger position to engage with learning and achieve at school”
Eleesa Dowding, Headteacher, Harmondsworth Primary School, Hillingdon
If your school is interested in this service please contact us to discuss how we can help.