As part of Children's Mental Health Week, Councillor Andrei Czolak visited Cardinal Newman School to hear stories from students who have received counselling and find out how it has impacted their mental health.
Children's Mental Health Week, running from 5 to 11 February, is a national awareness event aiming to empower, equips and give a voice to all children and young people in the UK.
This year’s theme is ‘My Voice Matters’, focussed on providing children and young people with tools to express themselves and work together, to help improve self-esteem, community spirit and overall mental health and wellbeing.
School counselling pilot
The visit was also arranged to discuss a new pilot project on offering school counselling with the Brighton & Hove Citizens group.
Working with the city’s schools, we’re proposing to introduce a pilot project to provide counselling to our young people who are struggling with their mental health in the city’s secondary schools. The aim is to set it up for the academic year beginning in September.
The pilot will be evaluated throughout the course of the year and will inform how we continue to offer counselling support in schools, benefiting young people across Brighton & Hove by giving them the tools they need to help them to lead happy and healthy lives.
Investing in support with mental health
Councillor Czolak, the council’s lead member for school mental health said: "In recent years, an increased number of students have encountered difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing.
“The evidence is clear, this is having a devastating impact on school attendances and attainment across the country and proving a barrier to our children and young people enjoying a happy, healthy and fulfilling start to life.
“It is crucial that we provide young people with a safe environment in which to talk when they are feeling down or encountering challenges to their mental wellbeing.
"This Children's Mental Health Week and as part of our ongoing commitment, I'm pleased that a new pilot is being proposed that will enhance the current mental health services within schools so that children across Brighton & Hove have access to consistent support when they need it most.
"Council budgets across the country have been stretched, and we've had to make many difficult decisions. However, investing in our mental health services will be critical to ensuring that our children and young people can lead happy and healthy lives now and in future.
"I’d like to thank Brighton & Hove Citizens for arranging the visit to Cardinal Newman School and talking to me about their campaign to improve mental health support in schools. To see so many students who are committed to ensuring that themselves and their peers have better access to support has been really inspirational."
Mental health support for under 18s
If you or someone you know is under 18 and wants local mental health support:
There is also help and support for safe use of the internet: