School counselling. I have been a school counsellor for 15 years and in this blog I write about the mental health of school aged children. There is a genuine and concerted effort to improve the mental health of school aged children in the United Kingdom.
The government write and speak about investing money in the mental health of both children and adults and they write and speak about the expectation they have that the organisations that are looking after children should do more to proactively safeguard the mental health of the children they look after.
Cheap and effective ideas are being sought by dedicated and committed professionals who care about the well-being of the children they teach and look after. To that end, for example, I am aware that in some quarters of the educational establishment there is a drive to promote the benefits of physical education. Some schools require that their students engage in 15 minutes of activity before lessons start. Advocates of this initiative extol the virtues of exercise and produce brain scans that show what an inactive brain and an active brain looks like. The pictures look beguiling as the active brain appears to be much healthier looking than the inactive brain. While physical education before lessons start may suit a good deal of children in a school community it will not suit a number of others for a variety of reasons.
Could be some students are feeling unwell, some girls may be have heavy periods and may not feel like running at the start of the day and do not want to have a “sick note” for a natural function, some students may not be built for athletics or they may have a disability like asthma, or hayfever in the summer season, or hypermobility that makes them seem “uncoordinated” to the majority who are more able-bodied and who comment, or do you not, as they watch their hypermobile peers run. Some students may have marks on their body inflicted by an abusive parent that they wish to hide, some students may feel that PE is part of the national curriculum and as such is a subject that should be taught within school time and should not be used as a cure for poor mental health outside of school time without proper university-based long-term studies being carried out on its efficacy for promoting positive mental health for ALL students.
15 minutes of running in the morning is but one example of some of the initiatives being piloted in the UK at the moment to improve mental health for young people in school.
I believe that what will be found to work best with students of all ages and nationalities and abilities is the power of the relationship that exists between and the teachers.
The power of positive relationships to make changes and to make a person feel better can never be underestimated. If you are in any doubt about this then think about how you feel when you are seen and understood by key people in your life today and think about how you felt in the past when you were seen and understood by teachers when you were at school.
Mental health is impacted negatively by loneliness, by feeling misunderstood, by feeling unseen, by being unhappy and nobody noticing, by feeling scared, by feeling that your experiences do not matter or that other peoples’ experiences are privileged over yours and by feeling that nobody gets you and nobody cares.
Counselling is a remedy to these negative experiences. It privileges those people who feel disempowered and ignored and it teaches a person that they matter.
If you would like to talk to me about how counselling can help your child then please get in touch, I would be pleased to hear from you.