Counselling services offered in Stirling Council’s high schools have been praised for their effectiveness in helping to promote the mental wellbeing of pupils.
A stressed teenager sits at a table with her mother looking at a tablet device.

300 high school pupils accessed the Time to Talk service throughout the 2020-21 school session with over 82% of those accessing it saying that they would recommend the service to a friend in need of support.

The Time to Talk service allows any young person to self-refer for a brief one-off appointment with their school counsellor to provide clarity about factors which are a source of distress.

The service was highlighted during a meeting of the Children and Young People Committee on 24 February.A Sensitive and Impartial Pair of EarsChildren and Young People Convener, Cllr Susan McGill said: “It’s crucial that young people going through emotional turmoil at a time when they themselves are still maturing are given the time and space to process difficult emotions if they need support.

“The Time to Talk service offers a sensitive and impartial pair of ears to help young people talk freely about their worries and concerns. At the ages of development throughout high school and, especially in the context of the last two years, I believe that this form of in-school counselling is invaluable for our young people who have been through a stressful time.”

Other ongoing efforts to promote the mental health of young people were discussed, including a Community Mental Health and Wellbeing grant which was launched for community groups and charities to apply for up to £2,000 to support the wellbeing of children, young people and families.

Vice Convener, Cllr Christine Simpson said: “Our children and young people all experience the developmental period of high school differently. It’s sensible that therapeutic support is on hand in this setting to help those who need it and I’m pleased that the majority of pupils who access it have found it useful.

“It borders on cliché to say that the last two years have been especially difficult for young people, but it doesn’t make it any less true and I’m glad that the Time to Talk service exists at this time to offer support for our young people at what has been an emotionally draining period.”