Last reviewed 25 October 2021

School-based counselling needs to be fully funded by the Government and available in all state-funded secondary schools and academies to help support rising numbers of children and young people reporting mental health issues during Covid-19.

This is the view of the Local Government Association (LGA), which has highlighted that the number of young people in contact with mental health services in England increased by 29% from 237,088 in March 2020 to 305,802 in February 2021.

It also points out that an estimated 1.5 million children and young people will need support for their mental health as a direct result of the pandemic over the next three to five years.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, says the Government should use the Spending Review to invest at least £100 million per year into rolling out school-based counselling.

This would aim to ensure access to a school counsellor for at least two days a week for more than 90% of schools and would complement the existing roll-out of mental health support teams in schools.

Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, Chairwoman of the LGA’s Children and Wellbeing Board, said: “With reports showing increasing numbers of young people seeking mental health support during the pandemic, it is crucial that early intervention and prevention services, such as school counselling where pupils may feel more able to confide in trusted professionals, are able to help children avoid reaching crisis point in the first place.”