Investment in YIACS key to delivery of Government's vision for mental health support in schools

Youth Access has responded to the green paper Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health with a call for investment in voluntary sector youth counselling services and preventative work in both schools and the community.

In our response to the green paper, which sets out proposals for improving mental health support in schools, we have highlighted the crucial role of voluntary sector providers, including Youth Information, Advice and Counselling Services (YIACS).

We are calling for YIACS to be given a significant role in the implementation of the Government's plans for mental health support teams in schools. Many already deliver effective counselling services and a range of preventative work in schools. However, we are concerned that the green paper is silent on the role of school-based counselling services, despite the Department for Education publishing a blueprint for counselling in all schools as recently as 2016, and mounting evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of youth counselling and youth advice interventions for vulnerable young people with complex needs.  

James Kenrick, Youth Access' Chief Executive, says:

"If counselling services in schools can't be sustained, there is a danger that this will lead to an increase in waiting lists in community-based YIACS and specialist CAMHS. We support the recent call from the Local Government Association for the Government to provide funding to implement an independent counselling service in every secondary school and alternative education provision as a core part of the whole school approach."

Our response expresses concerns about the scope and ambition of the green paper and calls for a far greater focus on preventative approaches that address the social determinants of young people's mental health and on improving services for young adults. 

Alongside our own response, we have been busy this month running four consultation workshops with 51 young people in YIACS as part of the Government's official consultation on the green paper.

James Kenrick says:

"Our members and the young people they work with have a lot to say about the green paper's proposals for youth mental health services. Their experience and expertise will be vital in shaping the final plans. We have an important role in channelling their views to decision makers and it's good to know that we currently have a listening ear in Government."

 Download our response here