Supporting whole families with their childrens’ mental health

24 May 2023

Home>Foundation News>Supporting whole families with their childrens’ mental health

The pandemic and cost of living crisis have had huge implications for the mental wellbeing of children and young people. 1 in 6 children have a diagnosable mental health problem (up from 1 in 9 in 2017), and the state provision for supporting children and their families is woefully inadequate. Place2Be exists to correct this issue, providing an embedded mental health service in 500 schools across the UK, supporting a school community of around 243,000 children.

Place2Be is the UK’s leading school-based mental health charity. Through a number of interventions, they work in a holistic way to provide children, their parents/ carers, and educators wrap-around support. This ‘whole school approach’ includes one-to-one counselling, self-referral services, group counselling, sessions for teachers, and support for parents. Place2Be’s trained counsellors have a dedicated room within the school, embedding mental health support as an integral part of a school’s culture and helping to open up conversations surrounding emotional difficulty. The charity’s model is unquestionably impactful, with data from 2021/ 22 demonstrating that 79% of children who began counselling with severe difficulties showing an improvement in mental health.

The charity works to ensure their services are available to some of the most vulnerable children of our society, with 25% of those receiving counselling involved with social care and 43% receiving free school meals (significantly higher than the national average of 22.5%).

If you have problems or worries you get a chance to talk to a person you trust. When I grow up, I want to help children like Place2Be helps children.’ – Eight-year old girl

Supporting the adults around the child undoubtedly leads to better and longer-term results for the child. Place2Be’s Family Practitioners provide in-person and online support for parents, working in multiple ways to help them meet the needs of their child whilst accessing invaluable understanding and support for themselves. Counsellors offer Personalised Individual Parenting Training, a face-to-face evidence-based programme designed to help parents respond to their child’s behavioural issues and develop a more positive attachment relationship. Family Practitioners are available to be a source of support for parents when they need, as well as being a source of guidance and understanding. Place2Be also runs Parenting Skills courses, and have brilliant online resources for responding to common challenging behaviours and situations.

There is so little support (if any) available for parents in the statutory system, and the service that Place2Be offers with their Family Practitioners is vital for changing the culture and understanding of mental health. Parents who have received this support have often confided that not only has it been valuable for helping them support their child, it has impacted their understanding of and relationship with their own mental health. We are proud to offer funding to help them provide 15 more schools with this relatively new, but clearly invaluable, service.

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