By Aileen Maclennan
Argyll and Bute Council has taken a number of steps to ensure that young people feel supported as they return to school after lockdown.
The council’s educational psychologists have been delivering a nurture training programme across schools as part of its ‘Our children, their nurturing education’ strategy. Twenty primary and secondary schools have signed up, starting their journey to becoming a nurture and relationships-based community. The scheme has been a huge success and, as a result, is now being rolled out to other groups.
A school counselling service set up earlier this year is also proving beneficial. The service, which was funded through the Scottish Government’s 10 year Mental Health Strategy, has resulted in the appointment of a team leader and 7.5 FTE experienced counsellors, one of which was funded through The Argyll and Bute Alcohol and Drug Partnership to ensure there is a dedicated resource for primary school children aged 10 years and over.
A lot of collaborative work is also being done by the council’s Principal Educational Psychologist and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to progress the mental health and wellbeing objectives within the Children and Young People Service Plan 2020 – 23.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, pictured above right, said: “Poor mental health doesn’t discriminate, it can affect anyone at any age. The last 12 months have really taken their toll, particularly on our young people, so it’s more important than ever that we have the resources in place to support pupils in our schools who need it.
“With children spending approximately 30 hours per week at school, it’s the perfect environment to promote positive mental health and identify any behavioural or emotional issues at an early stage.
“It’s also the perfect place to end the stigma that’s often associated with poor mental health, so that young people feel they can speak out and get the help they need.
“I am incredibly proud of the work that we are doing in our schools around this and the importance that we place on our young people’s wellbeing.”