Mental health cash welcomed
The decision by the Scottish Government last week (September 5) to put mental health at the centre of its Programme for Government is to be greatly welcomed .
The additional £250m of resourcing pledged will seek to deliver, among other things, 250 school mental health nurses and 350 counsellors in schools. This announcement came on the same day that it was noted that mental health waiting times for children and young people are the worst on record.
As a coalition we have strongly supported the merits of early mental health intervention, which can have an incredibly powerful impact on the lives of children and young people, with benefits continuing into adulthood. In this context, the ability to access school-based counselling services at an early stage in a convenient location can prove truly transformational.
Unlike other parts of the UK, however, there are limited counselling services in Scotland. Indeed, Scotland is currently the only UK country with no national strategy for schoolbased counselling services. The provision of 350 counsellors is therefore, to be greatly welcomed.
Counselling services are guaranteed in all secondary schools in Northern Ireland and
Wales. In Wales the vast majority of children and young people who received counselling (85 per cent) did not require any form of onward referral once counselling sessions had been completed.
The benefits are therefore obvious and the cost of five sessions of counselling is equivalent to just one contact with mental health services.
It is great to see Scotland now focusing on the delivery of counselling services in our schools and recognising the incredible benefits this can bring. The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition