With the number of children and young people receiving counselling services in Wales having increased to 11,753, and half of the referrals coming from school-based and other education staff, Janet Finch-Saunders AM, Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, has expressed her serious concern at the detrimental impact Covid-19 (Coronavirus) could have on young people’s lives.
The Welsh Government has disclosed that in 2018/19:
• 11,753 children or young people received counselling services (up by 400 since 2017/18)
• School-based and other education staff was the most common form of referral, accounting for 49 percent (up from 47 percent in 2017/18)
• Family issues were the most common form of issue for children and young people who received counselling (as was the case in 2017/18)
Commenting on the situation, the Shadow Minister said:
“Counselling is extremely important as it provides children and young people with an opportunity to talk with a counsellor about worries such as family issues, anxiety, anger, stress, depression, bereavement, and so much more.
“Importantly, the support can extend to a referral to other vital services, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and child protection.
“With half the referrals to counselling coming from school-based staff, I am very concerned that the closure of schools may be resulting in young people who require support falling through the safety net.
“The number of children receiving support has increased nationally and locally between 2017/18 and 2018/19, so I fear that the trend and referrals will see a sudden drop as a consequence of Coronavirus.
“There is a clear need for support because Child Line is reporting unprecedented demand in the number of counselling sessions.
“Going forward, I would encourage the Welsh Government to launch a new online campaign encouraging children and young people to self-refer if they are struggling.”
Childline can be rached on 0800 1111 or via 1-2-1 chat on www.childline.org.uk