National youth counselling study

Youth Access undertook a national study in partnership with local YIACS, Prof Mick Cooper and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). The aim was to produce reliable evidence on the outcomes of counselling in YIACS local community-based settings, and on the profile of their service users.

Working to an agreed protocol, the YIACS participating in this study collected data on their service users (aged 11 to 25) between 2014 and 2016.

The study involved nine YIACS from across the country and relied on the goodwill of all, since no funding was available.


Key findings from the study include:

  • More young women use voluntary sector services compared to NHS & school-based services
  • Voluntary sector services can bridge a crucial gap in provision for young adults 
  • Voluntary sector services are widely accessed by marginalised young people
  • Overall, young people seen by trained counsellors at voluntary sector services expressed high levels of satisfaction with their care & showed significant improvements.

The study was published in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy in December 2018. In addition, we have published an Evaluation of Service Questionnaire analysis, presenting rich qualitative data and testimonials from young people on their experience of counselling at YIACS.

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