Counselling services are to be made available to young people in Argyll and Bute, as part of the Scottish Government’s 10 year Mental Health Strategy.
At a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Community Services Committee this week, members agreed to support the initiative, which will see children as young as 10 having access to a trained counsellor.
Discussions are currently ongoing between the Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to develop a model of counselling for schools that will complement existing services, build capacity to meet identified needs, enhance approaches to early intervention and improve outcomes for children and young people.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “The positive mental health and emotional wellbeing of our children and young people is a priority.
“By providing support at an early stage, it can have a significant impact on preventing problems from arising in the future. It can also lead to improvements in attainment, attendance and behaviour, as well as happier, more confident pupils. I wholeheartedly support this initiative and look forward to seeing the benefits it has on our young people.”
Councillor Kieron Green, Policy Lead for Health and Social Care agreed: “This strategy recognises the need for targeted and specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). It also promotes effective prevention and early intervention through support services at a local level, delivered as close to the young people as possible.
“Young people can struggle for many reasons and not everyone has someone they can confide in. This counselling will give them the opportunity to talk about how they feel without the fear of judgement.”
The Scottish Government has allocated Argyll and Bute £286,000 for this financial year and £377,000 for each of the following three years: 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.