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New mental health support funding to help younger children in Welsh schools

New mental health support funding to help younger children in Welsh schools

Wales' Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, and Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, have announced £3.75 million of funding for mental health in Welsh schools.

School counselling services in Wales currently provide direct support to young people from the age of 11, up to the age of 18 (covering students from Year 6 to Year 13). The new funding will extend support to provide mental and emotional support to children under the age of 11.

£450,000 will be made available to support the mental health and well-being of school staff, under new plans currently being developed by the Welsh Government and other partners. 

Discussing the new funding for schools, Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams said;

“The coronavirus is inevitably causing additional anxiety for people of all ages, not least children and young people. We must therefore anticipate increased demand for mental health support among younger people.

“We know that by tackling problems early you can stop them escalating. Although serious mental health issues are less prevalent among younger children, we’re extending the support available so that children under 11 can also receive support with their emotional well-being, if they need it.

“We know traditional face-to-face counselling is not necessarily appropriate for younger children, who may lack the maturity to explain and understand the issues which concern them.  Instead specialist therapies, such as those based on play and working with the wider family are much more effective and we will work with providers to develop these services as part of our wider whole school approach.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething added that "we must be prepared for an impact on children’s emotional wellbeing" due to the restrictions on young people's lives amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement of the new funding comes at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, which this year has a theme focusing on acts of kindness. The funding is also in addition to £1.25m announced last month for local authorities in Wales to deliver counselling services in schools. 

 

Photo Credit: Welsh Government

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