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Article: Should all schools have a counselling service? Watch

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    (Original post by JordanL_)
    Poor mental health can have a huge adverse effect on education.
    I dont disagree
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    (Original post by Reue)
    I see no reason why a child who would be capable of walking into a school's counselling office would be equally unable to pickup the phone and arrange counselling out of the local hospital's department. The counsellor could even come to the school to meet them.

    Think of the wastage of having all these school counsellors just sat around all day waiting for students to show up.

    Plus I'm really not sure the demand is there, that money could be better spent elsewhere like focusing on providing counselling to young men for which there is an alarmingly high suicide rate.
    Counselling doesn't work like that in the community, you cannot simply just phone up somewhere and get an appointment, and there is definitely not the resources for a counsellor who works in an outpatient department (typically CAMHS or in primary care) to come out to the school - counsellors generally just work in one location. One of the reasons why people find it hard to access mental health treatment is due to the barriers that can be present. Don't you agree that a facility where children could go and talk to someone within their school and get counselling, which is again, within their school; is much preferable to them having to go to their GP, school nurse, social worker or other professional, who will then refer them to most likely CAMHS, who will assess them and then decide if they need counselling, and they will then need to leave school for part of the day to attend the counselling, which means they will miss large parts of the day, surely more disruptive to their education, and also, if you are worried about inefficiently using resources, CAMHS is very expensive to run, and surely, much more expensive than employing just one counsellor at a school. Also, CAMHS only generally take on the most unwell individuals, so those with milder conditions are likely to be left out, and will not receive help.

    Early intervention is extremely important, and making it easy it equally important. Can I ask why you don't think the demand is there? I'm basing my opinion on my work - I work in mental health and I am a student social worker. I've met many individuals who were not able to access support in their teenage years, no counselling at all. Schools need to accept some responsibility for this - what is the point of educating a child to a great standard if they are not able to use this due to poor mental health in later life. The Health Committee into CAMHS found that "It is vital that all secondary school children in England not only have access to counselling services in their school, but are aware that these services, and those provided by CAMHS, exist and how to access them". (http://www.bacp.co.uk/media/index.php?newsId=3557)

    Counsellors can also be there for difficult situations that a young person may face - e.g. parents divorcing. They can provide guidance and support. There is also an evidence basis for social workers being in schools (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2010/...e-at-a-school/)

    Young males do have a high suicide rate, but it is important to remember that a lot of mental health problems either start in adolescence or stem from problems at that age or younger. Early intervention that is accessible and does not disrupt education is vital, alongside investment in CAMHS services. Where I work, I have seen many individuals struggle to access services, it needs to be as simple as possible and as easy as possible - and believe me - accessing school counselling is much easier than external agencies. Not all schools will need a large counselling department, but in my opinion, there should be atleast one counsellor or one counselling trained social worker.
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    (Original post by Reue)
    No, schools are there to educate. We have doctors and hospitals for health.
    Schools are more than a mere tool to educate kids. They're there for kids to gain emotional maturity; to gain social skills, friends, and support wherever necessary.

    Many children need counselling because of issues with their parents, and don't want their parents to know they're in counselling, or their parents don't want to drive them there. Counselling at school would create a refuge for these troubled students, as well as making the student more supported and mentally healthy in the school environment, thus improving their learning.
    Also, a councillor in school would mean teachers, who see and get to know the kids on a daily basis, would be able to give the student the option of emotional support where they deem it necessary.

    As someone who gets counselling in school, I can't tell you how much it's helped me to know that I have someone I can talk to on-site at any moment.
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    At my school (all boys catholic school) there is no counseling whatsoever and the child safety/well-being officer is the scariest person the school. If you have a problem then you're going to have to deal with it yourself.

    I feel like there should be at the very least a person that comes in twice a week who is not affiliated with school, is not a student volunteer and is not a teacher, that students can book meetings with and go to just to have an ear to talk to, them if the person feels it is appropriate, they can refer them to actual counselling, that way there's at least something and that person could go to multiple schools.
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    I've been seeing mentors/ Councillors/ people paid to help me since 2010 (yr6) and i can honestly say it's been awful.
    Nothing ever got resolved (which i expected) but the same emotional wounds would just keep being brought up an no progress was made, even as things got worse. One time in fact the woman shouted at me whilst i was crying and complained i was being emotional (about a serious long term issue). I've also mentioned stresses with hwk and cwk before but that came up empty.
    I stopped going sometime last year and i think that has benefited me, i learnt to deal with things on my own and learn to just suck it up- it's something you need to learn yourself. I was sick and tired of being compared to people in worse situation and talking when i wasn't comfortable.
    Even though mental health is an issue among younger people, it is not done well as they are rude and condescending which can make things worse. I'm not sure if this may be counselling in general or maybe just my poor experiences- but it doesn't work whe its not done well which requires payment and lots of it. So if it were to be enrolled it would be bad, which can make things a lot worse
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    I looked at something in relation to that but for Children in Care or 'Looked after children'.

    Some of the 'counselling' was criticised for a 'tick box' procedure that was more about data filling and bureaucracy pleasing procedures.

    They need people who care!
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    yeah but id reccomend its presented in an engaging way
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    At the sixth form I attend there is a conserving service, that is confidential, the sixth form isn't attached to a school so the counselling service is just for the 2,000 pupils that attend. The counsellors, as I've been told, are so friendly and are so experienced to problems that face sixth form students but still give advice that suits the individual. The counselling sessions they offer aren't like what they would be in the NHS and it isn't like talking to a cousellor at all, it's just like talking to a tutor or pastoral mentor (like a head of year) except better because it is all confidential. So I believe if such a system was in place in schools it could boost students mental health. Also every member of staff at the sixth form I attend take mental health as seriously as it should be and are very supportive and I think that if other colleges and school treated stress and other mental illnesses as they should be there wouldn't be such a strain on the other mental health services.
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    A counselling service could have made a massive difference to me at school.
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    It isn't necessary to have mental health and counselling services physically in the school. We already have separate public facilities for that, which anybody can go and use (and which schools can potentially refer their pupils to if need be). This is sufficient for the pupils who really need it. If such services are fully embedded into school life, there is a danger of schools becoming over-zealous and placing too much emphasis on identifying people as having problems. That too, can be a barrier to achievement, because it sets people up to fail.


    Whilst I was at school, there was no formal "counselling service" to begin with, other than being welcome to go and speak to any teacher if you thought you had a problem. However, it was introduced in my later years, and it was clear to see the immediate negative impact that it had.


    Pupils who would have otherwise been perfectly capable of dealing with their minor problems on their own would now have them blown out of proportion by the school, and subsequently over-exaggerated them in their own minds. There was a sharp increase in the number of people thinking they had mental health issues (which teenagers are notoriously prone to as it is) and the school constantly highlighting and drawing attention to such issues just reaffirmed it for them. It got to the point that depression, low self esteem, self-harming etc. was part of the schools culture, and all anybody would ever talk about. Now, rather than just feeling a bit sad that their boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with them but getting over it and carrying on with life, people would start to think they were clinically depressed.

    There is a condition known as "Medical students' disease", whereby medical students start to feel that they have the symptoms of a disease that they're studying at the time. It's a result of the fact that the more you hear about a certain disease or condition, and the more common you perceive it to be, the more likely you are to question whether or not you have it yourself, and potentially believe that you do. And that's exactly what happened at my school. From being a normal place where everybody was happy and healthy, it became a place where over half the pupils thought they had a mental health condition of some sort.


    When that happened, academic performance levels started to slump amongst those people. Now, rather than being able to manage their minor problems separately, they started to feel as though the odds were stacked against them far more heavily than they really were. It created a feeling of helplessness amongst them and made them just stop trying.

    One thing that people commonly do when they have a challenge ahead of them is what's called "Self-Handicapping". This is when people start to unconsciously inflate their perception of the obstacles in their way, to protect themselves from the negative self-image associated with failure. And again, that's what happened in my school. People would feel as though any academic underperformance would be excused on account of their mental health issues, because they were destined to fail no matter what they did. They lost motivation as a result, and it was no wonder they didn't perform as well as they should have.


    Whilst there may be some pupils at a school who have serious mental health issues that need to be handled and resolved by someone who is professionally trained, I think that is best done outside of school in their own time. In school, the remainder of the student-body needs to recognise that those kinds of people are exceptional cases, and not be continually made to fear that they might have the same problem. For the most part, you, and almost all pupils will encounter some stumbling blocks along the way to academic success, but it's part of your job description to navigate them successfully and minimise their impact on your education. You have potential, success is in your grasp, and all it takes is hard work to get it.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    It isn't necessary to have mental health and counselling services physically in the school. We already have separate public facilities for that, which anybody can go and use (and which schools can potentially refer their pupils to if need be). This is sufficient for the pupils who really need it. If such services are fully embedded into school life, there is a danger of schools becoming over-zealous and placing too much emphasis on identifying people as having problems. That too, can be a barrier to achievement, because it sets people up to fail.


    Whilst I was at school, there was no formal "counselling service" to begin with, other than being welcome to go and speak to any teacher if you thought you had a problem. However, it was introduced in my later years, and it was clear to see the immediate negative impact that it had.


    Pupils who would have otherwise been perfectly capable of dealing with their minor problems on their own would now have them blown out of proportion by the school, and subsequently over-exaggerated them in their own minds. There was a sharp increase in the number of people thinking they had mental health issues (which teenagers are notoriously prone to as it is) and the school constantly highlighting and drawing attention to such issues just reaffirmed it for them. It got to the point that depression, low self esteem, self-harming etc. was part of the schools culture, and all anybody would ever talk about. Now, rather than just feeling a bit sad that their boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with them but getting over it and carrying on with life, people would start to think they were clinically depressed.

    There is a condition known as "Medical students' disease", whereby medical students start to feel that they have the symptoms of a disease that they're studying at the time. It's a result of the fact that the more you hear about a certain disease or condition, and the more common you perceive it to be, the more likely you are to question whether or not you have it yourself, and potentially believe that you do. And that's exactly what happened at my school. From being a normal place where everybody was happy and healthy, it became a place where over half the pupils thought they had a mental health condition of some sort.


    When that happened, academic performance levels started to slump amongst those people. Now, rather than being able to manage their minor problems separately, they started to feel as though the odds were stacked against them far more heavily than they really were. It created a feeling of helplessness amongst them and made them just stop trying.

    One thing that people commonly do when they have a challenge ahead of them is what's called "Self-Handicapping". This is when people start to unconsciously inflate their perception of the obstacles in their way, to protect themselves from the negative self-image associated with failure. And again, that's what happened in my school. People would feel as though any academic underperformance would be excused on account of their mental health issues, because they were destined to fail no matter what they did. They lost motivation as a result, and it was no wonder they didn't perform as well as they should have.


    Whilst there may be some pupils at a school who have serious mental health issues that need to be handled and resolved by someone who is professionally trained, I think that is best done outside of school in their own time. In school, the remainder of the student-body needs to recognise that those kinds of people are exceptional cases, and not be continually made to fear that they might have the same problem. For the most part, you, and almost all pupils will encounter some stumbling blocks along the way to academic success, but it's part of your job description to navigate them successfully and minimise their impact on your education. You have potential, success is in your grasp, and all it takes is hard work to get it.
    Public facilities are hard to access and are over stretched, many young people do not get the help they need (see my previous post for information). I would be interested to know why you are so sure that a confidential counselling service caused an increase of depression and self harm in your school. To be honest, I think sending a message to people that mental health problems and emotional issues are something that only a exceptional amount of people need to be concerned about is irresponsible. It just sends a message of just get on with it - how is that a healthy thought process? Early intervention is important. If there are people experiencing problems at school - surely the opportunity of being able to talk to someone who is trained in that is beneficial?

    Have you considered other reasons why there may have been an observed change within your school. How do you not know that there was not this many people struggling before, but now with a counsellor, it is helping them to become more open, and encouraging others to seek help?
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    (Original post by bullettheory)
    Public facilities are hard to access and are over stretched, many young people do not get the help they need (see my previous post for information).
    Public facilities may be hard to access or over-stretched, but I think any investment in such facilities in schools would be better spent on making public facilities easier to access and and less over stretched. Part of the reason for that is because of what I've already said, so that school life and these sorts of issues are kept separate, but also because it's more efficient and makes more economic sense than to spend the same amount of money on counsellors that only a select group of people (i.e. children of a particular school) have access to.

    I would be interested to know why you are so sure that a confidential counselling service caused an increase of depression and self harm in your school. To be honest, I think sending a message to people that mental health problems and emotional issues are something that only a exceptional amount of people need to be concerned about is irresponsible. It just sends a message of just get on with it - how is that a healthy thought process? Early intervention is important. If there are people experiencing problems at school - surely the opportunity of being able to talk to someone who is trained in that is beneficial?
    In most cases I think "just get on with it" is an extremely healthy thought process.

    When faced with a problem, I think it's a lot better to recognise that it's not the end of the world, and have the confidence to be able to navigate around it (with help if need be), knowing that it's just a small stumbling block and not a dead end that prevents you from going further. That maintains a person's motivation to work hard and succeed far better than if they think their problem is so big that they're doomed to failure no matter what.

    Of course help sometimes needs to be available to assist you in "getting on with it". But in my opinion, the kind of help that already existed in my school from beforehand was enough for this. Establishing full counselling services right inside the school has the potential to be an overkill, which can have an adverse effect on pupils' motivation and performance. Especially for people at a highly impressionable age, there's a danger of playing up the significance of small problems that would otherwise have been handled easily by the pupils themselves, and taking away from their confidence in their own ability to do so.

    As with everything, there's a need to strike a healthy balance. With too much hand-holding, a child will never learn to walk on their own, pick themselves up when they fall, and just carry on walking. But with no help at all, some children with exceptional problems may never be able to stand up in the first place. In terms of counselling services, I think that healthy balance is struck when these services exist and can be accessed by a child when necessary, but only when it's really necessary. Children with exceptional problems should get the help they need, while children who can learn to be self-sufficient should do so.

    Have you considered other reasons why there may have been an observed change within your school. How do you not know that there was not this many people struggling before, but now with a counsellor, it is helping them to become more open, and encouraging others to seek help?
    Well as I said, academic results slumped almost immediately. If it were just that people had started to become more open about their mental health issues, one wouldn't expect that. They would have been underperforming just as much from beforehand when there had been no counselling service. After I left school, it appears that they saw sense and abolished the counselling services, and academic results picked up again.

    Plus I think when you know most of the people involved, it's a lot easier to see what was going on. It's quite commonly understood amongst the people who have now left that school, amongst the community of families who sent their children there that, and amongst the teachers themselves that the way they implemented these counselling services was a blunder. Several people who I've kept contact with now admit to the fact that, whilst they only had the same problems that pretty much everyone has as a teenager, when those problems were over exaggerated they started to feel handicapped and lower their own expectations of themselves.
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    yes, yes, a thousand times yes. i have been let down time and time again by the pastoral support in schools simply due to a lack of funding.
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    Yes they should. In my opinion, its great having mentors, support teachers e.t.c however I think a counsellor will be able to provide medical and accurate information and support to a student. Although school is about education, our health is also something very important. Despite doctors being there and the rest of the NHS- When students are in school who are in dire need to talk to some one or have any issues, by - having a person that is medically qualified can help relieve those stresses of the Individual and the NHS.

    These days- children stress a lot about many simple things in life and sometimes it does not have to be related to education at times. And at a young age, many people are unaware of the support that is available, so by having someone in school, students can be more confident in discussing, for example a mental health issue.

    counselling will also allow the school the help support the student in the right and best way possible, breaking down communication barriers and making school life more fun in some sense or a good experience. :yep:
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    (Original post by Steampunk_Turtle)
    I've been seeing mentors/ Councillors/ people paid to help me since 2010 (yr6) and i can honestly say it's been awful.
    Nothing ever got resolved (which i expected) but the same emotional wounds would just keep being brought up an no progress was made, even as things got worse. One time in fact the woman shouted at me whilst i was crying and complained i was being emotional (about a serious long term issue). I've also mentioned stresses with hwk and cwk before but that came up empty.
    I stopped going sometime last year and i think that has benefited me, i learnt to deal with things on my own and learn to just suck it up- it's something you need to learn yourself. I was sick and tired of being compared to people in worse situation and talking when i wasn't comfortable.
    Even though mental health is an issue among younger people, it is not done well as they are rude and condescending which can make things worse. I'm not sure if this may be counselling in general or maybe just my poor experiences- but it doesn't work whe its not done well which requires payment and lots of it. So if it were to be enrolled it would be bad, which can make things a lot worse
    Sounds like you had an awful councilor (a really awful one!). But I agree, some people just don't get on with counseling. My wife had a similar experience, all she felt the sessions did was drag out all the problems and things she was feeling bad about and bring them to the front of her mind. She never found counseling provided any solutions, just went over and over all the awful things.

    They ended up being so stressful it made her worse. Now, she might have had a bad councilor too, but not actively bad like yours seem to have been.

    With some people, it just doesn't work, I think. Others, however, can find it a great resource and it really helps them. So it should be available, but certainly not forced.
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    (Original post by Reue)
    I see no reason why a child who would be capable of walking into a school's counselling office would be equally unable to pickup the phone and arrange counselling out of the local hospital's department. The counsellor could even come to the school to meet them.

    Think of the wastage of having all these school counsellors just sat around all day waiting for students to show up.

    Plus I'm really not sure the demand is there, that money could be better spent elsewhere like focusing on providing counselling to young men for which there is an alarmingly high suicide rate.
    What are the chances that these men have a high suicide rate because they wouldn't seek help, right until the last moment?

    I would never have stepped into a counsellor's office, had my University not had the facilities on site - and I'm a grown adult. Because I had my misconceptions and stigmas about what kind of persons would choose to seek help in the first place, and I wanted to do it in the 'quietest' way possible. How would someone much younger than me feel? I'm actually rather shocked to hear that 9 out of 10 schools don't have this service.

    It's very impossible to a minor to haul their ass to a hospital with confidentiality, going out of their way to keep up with regular appointments without family members knowing. In addition to that, people tend think of hospitals as a place where physical and serious problems are treated - ie, I wouldn't have thought to see a counsellor through a hospital until I had attempted (and subsequently failed) suicide. For obvious reasons, I'd rather most young people didn't go through that stage first before finding their mental illness "valid" enough to want to seek help over it

    Neither is it a waste of money. There are so many people I know who have benefited from the school's councillor during sixth form, in my year alone. I would imagine many others, who simply kept it to themselves and didn't tell anyone - and those like me, who wished they had used the services earlier.
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    (Original post by Steampunk_Turtle)
    I've been seeing mentors/ Councillors/ people paid to help me since 2010 (yr6) and i can honestly say it's been awful.
    Nothing ever got resolved (which i expected) but the same emotional wounds would just keep being brought up an no progress was made, even as things got worse. One time in fact the woman shouted at me whilst i was crying and complained i was being emotional (about a serious long term issue). I've also mentioned stresses with hwk and cwk before but that came up empty.
    I stopped going sometime last year and i think that has benefited me, i learnt to deal with things on my own and learn to just suck it up- it's something you need to learn yourself. I was sick and tired of being compared to people in worse situation and talking when i wasn't comfortable.
    Even though mental health is an issue among younger people, it is not done well as they are rude and condescending which can make things worse. I'm not sure if this may be counselling in general or maybe just my poor experiences- but it doesn't work whe its not done well which requires payment and lots of it. So if it were to be enrolled it would be bad, which can make things a lot worse
    I'm sorry you had to go through that! I think that might just be your experience though, as counselling is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment- however that could also depend on the reasons you're going I suppose~
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    (Original post by annarowan)
    I'm sorry you had to go through that! I think that might just be your experience though, as counselling is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment- however that could also depend on the reasons you're going I suppose~
    Yeah definitely bad all of them. But i do have to say going there, getting frustrated forced me to deal with my problems myself- which i think is better. Obviously i'm still pretty damaged because of it but it's enough to get by
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    Absolutely right-I totally see the angle that you're coming from, & absolutely agree with you. I was actually discussing this with a friend recently-a few months ago. Basically, I was feeling the pressure/stress of exams (before my mocks) a little too much, & it was actually starting to get on top of me/way over my head. I felt like I needed help/ to talk to somebody at school about this, & it was at this point that I questioned/realised the fact that we don't have access to, (&we should!) a counselling service at school.
    I mean, you shouldn't have to discuss your 'problems' with your regular subject teachers, as for one thing, they're not equipped or in the position to (help you to) deal with them, or to offer you advice. Also, sometimes (actually, quite often) your problems/worries are personal, & you don't really want to discuss them with your subject teachers, as it's not really confidential for you to do so-your teachers could tell any other teachers at the school (esp. if the school is quite small/the teachers are quite close-knit). & also, I feel like quite often, if subject teachers find out that you're having difficulties (aside from in subject/lesson content) they tend to look at you in a different way (if you get what I mean?).-They tend to pay extra attention to you, & they think/act like you can't cope, which is clearly not the case. Also, sometimes you just don't feel comfortable in discussing personal issues with your teachers, & you shouldn't have to either-there should be a seperate counselling service.
    I feel like in the UK, if you have issues that are affecting your learning/performance at school, this is often overlooked.

    Also, I think that it's important to have counselling in sixth-form/colleges as well, as just because you've reached the age of 16-18, it doesn't mean that you're able to cope with everything on your own, & I think that it is often overlooked that sometimes older students need help/advice too!
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    I think that teachers should have basic training in cousilling. Most teachers know students really well and build a bond with students so it would be better to be able to approach someone who knows you more than a stranger. That's my opinion.
 
 
 
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