Mrs Good, our School Counsellor, here writes about Children’s Mental Health Week which was held from 5th – 11th February. This year it highlighted the importance of ‘Being Ourselves.’
‘When we have a positive view of ourselves it can help us cope with life’s challenges, as well as recognise the different qualities and strengths in others to help with our wellbeing.
It can be difficult to maintain a positive view of ourselves in a world where our senses seem to be constantly assailed on how we should look, how we should perform, what we should be doing and achieving. In brief, when we feel ourselves judged, influenced by the latest trends, and confronted by unobtainable images and unhelpful narratives, it can be overwhelming, and make us feel fragile rather than empowered.
With recent findings of drugs charity, Addaction, that children were buying drugs on line to manage exam pressure, and a government funded study that found ‘Worryingly high rates of depression,’ among 14 year old girls and the ‘Increasing mental health difficulties faced by girls compared to previous generations,’ the UK Government’s Green Paper, ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision,’ on supporting children and young people with mental health, seems to have missed the opportunity of delivering the most effective mental health support in schools and colleges.
As noted by BACP Chair Andrew Reeves (Therapy Today, February 2018; Volume 29, Issue 1), there is extensive evidence on the efficacy of school based counselling, but counselling has currently been excluded from the proposed mainstream provision. Instead, teaching staff will have more responsibilities around mental health, and there is an intention to fast track access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Whilst some children and young people require the specialist intervention by CAMHS, this medical model is not the case for every client. The understandable distress and response to social, familial and cultural issues can in many instances be addressed in counselling which does not pathologies the experience.
In thinking about how we can identify those around us who we can turn to for support before things become unmanageable, it could be well worth the few minutes it takes to think about your support network as well as what you can offer when someone is in need of solace, support and guidance.’
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