Best Practice

School counselling: What does the evidence say about what works?

School counselling services are a common response to mental health and wellbeing challenges, not least those caused by Covid-19 and lockdown. New research findings have shown us exactly when and how counselling can be most effective. Professor Mick Cooper explains

In England, approximately one in seven young people meet the criteria for a “mental disorder”, with prevalence rates rising over the past two decades. Schools, as recognised by the UK government, may provide an ideal environment to try and address this problem. They provide young people with unparalleled access to services; alleviating barriers such as time, location, and cost.

One of the most common forms of school-based mental health intervention is counselling. School-based counselling is well established in more than 60 countries around the globe, and mandatory in at least 40, including Wales.

In England, approximately 60 per cent of secondary schools provide some form of on-site counselling, with 70,000 to 90,000 young people attending it every year in the UK.

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