In-school counselling service launched in Northamptonshire to support children's mental health needs

As teachers are now dealing with more complex mental health issues a counselling service in Moulton has decided to bridge the gap between schools and social workers.

Thursday, 13th June 2019, 5:51 pm
Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Broad Horizons, in Moulton, has launched a new in-school counselling scheme to help with the perceived increase in children's mental health issues in schools.

The service sets out to provide formal support to schools that do not have a designated counsellor and to also help schools whose counsellor might be overstretched.

The aim is to help those staff to further assist pupils who might have witnessed domestic abuse, been a victim of child sexual exploitation or who have self-harmed.

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Erin May and Claire Harrison-Breed pictured by Kirsty Edmonds at Broad Horizons Psychotheraputic Services based at Moulton College campus.

Claire Harrison-Breed is the company director of Broad Horizons.

She said: "Children’s emotional wellbeing and needs are falling further and further onto the shoulders of pastoral, and support staff, within schools.

"Many of the family support workers, support staff and pastoral support workers that I supervise in schools are pivotal in supporting children and young people that have highly complex needs.

"The level of complexity they manage would have traditionally fallen within social worker remits when I started out as a social worker in the 1990's. These practitioners are doing an amazing job with little resources and often scarce support."

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

At Broad Horizons there are seven counsellors who are trained to work with children aged between four and 18 who have anxiety, depression, who self-harm, who are struggling with grief or who are having relationship difficulties.

Contracts can be long or short term within a school setting and can be part-funded by parents or through a Government grant called pupil premium.

"We always knew there was a huge need for extra therapeutic support within schools," child and adolescent therapist Erin May added. "Services across the county can sadly be difficult to access due to such a high need.

"The Government is placing more and more pressure on schools to support the mental health needs of our children and there is an increased awareness of mental health support within society as a whole.

"This is a big ask of schools who already have so many other things to be focusing on. If we can help by providing schools with an experienced counsellor for a day or two a week then hopefully this will alleviate pressure on schools while supporting and helping children and families who may have been unable to access counselling services otherwise."