In 2004, over 55,000 Scottish children were identified as having some form of mental health problem, which is around 8 per cent of the population’s age group. Counselling and psychotherapy covers a range of ‘talking’ therapies and can offer an alternative way to tackle some of the problems faced by people with mental health problems instead of using prescription drugs, such as antidepressants.
‘Talking’ therapy counselling supports people with diverse issues like bereavement, educational problems or relationships. It is usually delivered in a safe and confidential environment with a therapeutically trained counsellor, where people can talk through some of there painful, uncomfortable and confusing issues.
Evidence has shown that school-based counselling is linked to an improvement in a variety of problems that young people face today, including family issues, bullying, depression and eating disorders.
In 2005, the then Labour-Lib Dem Scottish led parliament produced a report entitled, ‘The Mental Health of Children and Young People: A Framework for Promotion, Prevention and Care’, which said by 2015 there should be provision in place for confidential, accessible and non-stigmatising counselling support for all young people in Scotland.
Despite this report and its commitment, there has been little sign of movement towards this objective during successive Scottish administrations and there remains no national strategy for its implementation.
Wales and Northern Ireland both have their own national strategies in place for school based counselling, with funding in place for the provision of counselling in every secondary school in their countries. This is still yet to happen in Scotland despite the pledge being made back in 2005.
View the original Caledonian Mercury article here.