In Scotland half of all diagnosable mental health problems start before a child reaches the age of 14

– Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (2016)

Why do we need counselling in Secondary schools?

Transition through secondary school can present many challenges for young people which can bring on stress, anxiety, depression or relationship problems with those around them.

The Spark’s therapeutic services offer support to young people faced with difficult life experiences.

The Spark’s youth counsellors help individuals identify underlying issues leading to enhanced mental and emotional wellbeing. In Scotland half of all diagnosable mental health problems start before a child reaches the age of 141.

Early diagnosis and intervention work is therefore vital in reducing the levels of poor mental health amongst adults2. Without early intervention and support, mental health problems amongst teens and adults result in significant personal, relational, societal and economic costs.

The value of counselling in Secondary schools

counselling in secondary schoolsThe Spark’s therapeutic service aims to help the high number of young people in Scotland affected by poor mental health by:

  • providing support to build resilience
  • developing new copy skills and strategies
  • making better sense of relationships
  • helping to manage change and transitions
  • providing a space to explore various life experiences and challenges.

This approach is in line with the Scottish Government’s strategy ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ recognising that each child is individual and that some require alternative support to access education fully and realise their potential3.

Youth counselling can help young people deal with a range of personal issues. Common issues addressed by The Spark youth counsellors in Secondary schools include3:

  • Family breakdown
  • Body image / self-confidence / sexual identity
  • Relationships and sex
  • Violence, anger & aggression
  • Exam stress
  • Puberty
  • Depression / anxiety / self-harm
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Illness
  • Young carer responsibility

Counselling in schools

counselling in secondary schoolsCounselling offers a safe, confidential place for young people to talk about experiences that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. These experiences may exist within their own home, community or at school. Typically they will be impacting upon the young person and their relationships.

Without support young people often cope by avoiding certain situations/ withdrawl, bullying, self-harm and aggression amongst many others. The Spark’s Children and Young People Team (CYP) utilise a combination of therapeutic play, art therapy and talking therapy.

Counsellors establish a therapeutic relationship with the young person through acceptance, trust and empathy. Thus providing young people with an opportunity to express and process feelings at their own level and pace.

This positive relationship can then be internalised by the young person and help instil a sense of competence, improved ability to form healthy relationships and re-align negative patterns of behaviour or thinking.

All The Spark counsellors are members of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)  or The British Association for Art Therapists (BAA) .

Future programmes

Many young people do not need counselling and are able to resolve emotional difficulties with the help of their family and friends. For some who have challenging difficulties, counselling can offer an important support for the young adult’s health and wellbeing.

For more information on youth counselling in Secondary schools please contact the CYP Team on 0141 222 3910 or complete an enquiry form.


1. Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (2016). ‘Vulnerable children and young people with mental health problems need care and support.’ (visited 30/10/2016).

2. Scottish Government (2008). Early Years and Early Intervention: A joint Scottish Government and COSLA policy statement.’ (visited 30/10/16).

3. Young Minds (2016). ‘What’s the problem?’ (visited 30/10/2016).