Counselling in schools
Remember what it was like to be a teenager? Were you popular? Did you have acne? Maybe overweight or have a speech impediment? How did you cope?
Today young people are under so much pressure to achieve good exam results, often being told they'll end up working at Macdonalds or even a life on benefits, now add to this the pressure of not fitting in, not being one of the popular kids, perhaps being one of the kids everyone likes to make fun of, sometimes they’ll join in and laugh and mock themselves. Then there is the popular kid, good looking, cool, what do they have to worry about? They worry about the pretence they keep up, often young people talk about wanting to start again, maybe another school, where they can be the person they really are, not who they currently are.
The truth is, there are so many unhappy young people filling our schools, not just with the issues I have mentioned above, there is a whole range of life difficulties out there, including divorce, blended families, alcohol and drug problems, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect.
Now imagine you are the young person who is unhappy, has low self esteem and going through a difficult time at home and one person makes a disparaging remark about you on Facebook, then one more person joins in and then another and it spirals out of control, it continues on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, at times it can be sent out to massive groups and quickly deleted to remove evidence, but it's too late, five hundred people in the area have seen it.
Sure you can take it to the school to deal with but how does it leave you feeling?
As a school counsellor, I would like to see every school in the country giving students access to a counsellor. It doesn't matter what background a child comes from or how wealthy their parents are, the space to offload, feel supported and worthy is vital for all young people. The school counsellor’s room may be the only place a young person is properly listened to without being judged.
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About Beverley Brough
Qualified integrative counsellor