Welcome from the School Counsellor and to the School Counselling Service
Mrs Renata Good, our School Counsellor, introduces herself and her work:
‘As the new term and academic year gets underway, a warm welcome to returning readers and greetings to new ones. As I sit down to write this I find myself thinking how quickly time seems to fly – the older I get the quicker it seems to go, or so it appears. The holiday season has barely finished and I have already spied Christmas cards on sale!
I work within the area of emotional health and wellbeing, promoting school counselling and providing a service for children and young people. It was therefore with great interest I read recommendations from the recently published ‘The Good Childhood Report 2015,’ which looked at the wellbeing of 10 and 12 year olds in 15 countries. The report calls for the UK Government to make it a legal requirement for schools in England to provide counselling to pupils, which would echo the policies already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland.
As the following statistics indicate, emotional problems and mental health are not the preserved rights of adults. YoungMinds, 2014, published that half of children and young people aged 11 – 25 in a poll of 2, 000 said they had been bullied and more than half said they would end up being a failure if they did not get good exam results. If one reflects further on Key Data on Adolescence 2013 from the Association of Young People’s Health, that 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – around 3 children in every class; between 1 in every 12 children and young people deliberately self-harm with the number being admitted into hospital through self-harm having increased by 68% in the past ten years; nearly 80,000 children under 10 years suffer from severe depression, the case for early counselling is compelling.
The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy has long held the belief that children and young people should have access to professional, qualified counsellors in their schools. Karen Cromarty, BACP’s Senior Service Advisor for Children and Young People speaking on BBC’s Breakfast programme on 19th August 2015, said, ‘A myriad of problems affect children and young people today. About a third of children who go to school counselling talk about family problems. Following that, they talk about how to manage their anger, bereavement, stress, problems with school, problems with relationships; so really a wide range of difficulties. 75% of mental health problems in adults start in childhood, and 75% of these aren’t identified or diagnosed. Young people who have mental health difficulties often don’t have anybody to talk to. This means that their problems are not being addressed and are carried on into adulthood …. Often children don’t want any action, they just want to be listened to, and that’s one of the success stories of counselling in schools. One of the reasons children go to counselling is that they like to speak to someone who is independent and outside of the problem.’
In thinking about how quickly time passes and that the children of today are the future of tomorrow, investing in some time to improve emotional resilience and mental health by informing and actively engaging children and young people has its benefits on many levels. It’s a given that at some time or another we will face disappointments, change and challenges. Amongst others these can evoke feelings of anger, sadness, worry as well as happiness. The ways in which feelings are experienced are, however, unique to each individual, may change over time, and vary with each situation. The school counselling service at St Augustine’s Priory offers pupils the opportunity to talk about troublesome feelings or others issues that are getting in the way of self-esteem, relationships or learning.
In the next article I will answer those ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ about the school counselling service. Until then remember to take good care of yourself.
Mrs Renata GoodPriory Post