Success for counselling in schools pilot programme

A two-year pilot project to provide low level mental health support and early intervention in the region’s secondary schools could now be extended.

The Youth Enquiry Service and Educational Psychology delivered the project, which has been supported by three youth information workers, specifically recruited.

Now, councillors will be asked to support its expansion in line with a Government commitment to provide counsellors within schools.

Locally within Dumfries and Galloway, there is said to be significant evidence of impact in the Youth Information Workers in schools in providing low level mental health support and early intervention.

The project was aimed at closing the poverty related attainment gap and has been fully funded by the Pupil Equity Fund.

The key local priorities identified with headteachers at the original pilot development stage were: Early Intervention and Prevention; Social and Emotional Wellbeing; Promoting Healthy Lifestyles; Engaging Beyond the School; Partnership Working; and Promoting a High-Quality Learning Experience.

Each school was able to tailor their own programme to meet their own needs with one-to-one support, group work and issue-based groups and drop in/C4U all available.

Since October 2018, the youth information workers have been delivering in 15 Secondary schools one day per school per week.

A total of 157 young people received one-to-one support and the issues coming from those were self-esteem, confidence, mental health, sexual health, relationships, bereavement, anger, domestic abuse, family, money, poverty, drugs and alcohol, anger, self-harm and self-care.

A total of 18 boys groups, 16 girls groups and five mixed groups have taken place across the region, with 306 regular young people attending. Topics covered in group sessions included: Peer relationships; Social Skills; Confidence and Self-esteem; Sexual Health; Mental Health; Drugs and Alcohol; Bereavement; Anger Management; Peer Pressure; Poverty; and Internet Safety

Informal drop ins are being delivered across all 15 schools along with C4U. Drop-in sessions are reasonably well attended in most schools.

Funding for the project comes to an end in August 2020 and additional funding would need to be found to enable the project to continue.

More about the pilot project can be read here: Youth Information Workers in Schools Pilot Project