Council and MYPAS launch school counselling pilot

Wednesday September 9th 2020

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Pictured are, from left to right: Lasswade School Captain Mia Tracey, Councillor Jim Muirhead, Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Lasswade School Captain Ria Colbridge, Dave Evans, the MYPAS Chief Executive, and Lasswade School Captain Abbie Knotman.


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian Council is working with the Midlothian Young People’s Advice Service (MYPAS) on a one year school counselling pilot across Midlothian’s schools. MYPAS has recruited a team of counsellors who will start in late September with counselling anticipated to start in October.

A procurement process for a counselling service across Midlothian will take place during the course of this pilot period.

Trained and experienced counsellors will work with children and young people aged 10-18 years to improve their mental health through weekly counselling sessions. The service will work with partners in Education, Children’s Services, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the Third Sector to ensure that those that need help most will benefit.

The service will also provide consultation with teachers and parents, walk-in sessions for young people to informally access a counsellor and mental health inputs into school classes as well as a small number of family counselling sessions. Counsellors will also support young people outside of the counselling environment – for example in review meetings.

The service will be all-year-round, including school holidays, and will work with young people outside of school hours and school environments providing greater flexibility of service.

Midlothian Council Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Jim Muirhead said:

“Giving our young people the chance to access fully trained counsellors in school and outwith, all year round will be hugely beneficial. When you are feeling stressed and anxious, knowing you can speak to someone at relatively short notice and in a familiar environment is very reassuring and will hopefully go a long way to making sure all our young people get the help and support they need. ”

MYPAS has worked in Midlothian for over 20 years. The award-wining charity has attracted, and continues to attract, funding that is nationally recognised. It will continue to provide a counselling service for young people out of the school setting (through a range of funders) as well as a Drugs and Alcohol support service, Art Therapy, LGBT+ support service and a Young Men’s Therapeutic Project.

Dave Evans, the Chief Executive from MYPAS said:

“We are thrilled to be delivering the pilot of school counselling in Midlothian. We have worked with key partners, including schools, to provide counselling for young people in Midlothian for the last 20 years and we are delighted to be able to integrate school-based counselling into our range of services for young people. Midlothian agencies in both the statutory and third sectors have rightly put children and young people’s mental health at the top of the agenda and this pilot will help to strengthen the support available to improve children and young people’s health and wellbeing.”

Lasswade School Captains, Mia Tracey, Ria Colbridge and Abbie Knotman welcomed news of the counselling project. The students agreed many pupils may need extra support after enduring weeks in lockdown and that being supported by a professional in school but who was not their teacher, would help people open up about concerns and worries in confidence.

More information on the pilot, including referring to the service, will become available once the new team starts and the initial service develops.

More information on MYPAS is available at www.mypas.co.uk

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