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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-03790
Asked by: Paul O'Kane, West Scotland, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 15 October 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government whether children in all schools will have access to a counsellor to talk about death, dying and grief, and whether this will extend to children under the age of 10.

Current status: Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 29 October 2021


Answer

We know that schools play a key role in supporting children and young people’s mental health. We continue to support our local authority partners with £16 million in funding to ensure that every secondary school across Scotland has access to counselling services, which our local authority partners have confirmed is now in place across Scotland. Counselling can help children and young people explore, understand and overcome issues in their lives and improve resilience, including responding to loss and grief.

During the planning of the counsellors in schools provision, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland advised that the requirements for working with children under the age of 10 is very different to that for older children. This is why our commitment is only for children aged 10 and over. Schools and education authorities have the capacity to identify specific measures to support children under the age of 10. For example, some local authorities may have staff trained to deliver ‘Seasons for Growth’, a programme widely used in primary, secondary and special sectors across Scotland to support children and young people suffering from loss and grief.