Mental Health Support in Schools

As part of the Scottish Government current programme, there is a commitment to provide counselling within schools across Scotland to support young people from P6 - S6.

Within Dumfries and Galloway, a two-year 'Youth Information in Schools Project' pilot was delivered from 2018 - 2020 working with young people to provide low level mental health support. This project had a significant impact on young people and as part of the commitment to provide counsellors in schools, this provision has been extended and expanded to run across Dumfries and Galloway until July 2023.

This work is targeted at closing the poverty related attainment gap and supporting young people's emotional, behavioural, and mental health. In line with Scottish government requirements all Youth Information Workers delivering on the project are qualified to work with children and young people and have successfully completed an accredited counselling skills training course through COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland).

The key local priorities identified with headteachers at the original pilot development stage were:

  • Early Intervention and Prevention
  • Social and Emotional Well-being
  • Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
  • Engaging Beyond the School
  • Partnership Working
  • Promoting a High-Quality Learning Experience

The young people that this is targeted at may be those who:

  • You have concerns surrounding their well-being including mental and emotional health
  • Are considered vulnerable (using your professional judgement)
  • Are at risk of offending
  • Are struggling with a loss/bereavement or significant change.
  • Struggling with low self-esteem or confidence.

The project is delivered by Youth Information Workers who can deliver a range of one-to-one 'blether' support (only available to S1+), evidence-based group work and issue-based programmes these are available for both primary and secondary, including:

  • Seasons for Growth (Loss and Bereavement)
  • Living Life to the Full (Confidence and Self Esteem)
  • LIAM (Anxiety Management)

Blether is our one-to-one low level psychological support programme that aims to help young people to learn strategies to cope with their difficult feelings. Our programmes cannot 'fix' the problems experienced by a young person, but they can help the young person to develop coping strategies and find ways to make positive changes when they are ready to.

Blether is often a first point of contact for young people who are doing through difficulties, depending on their needs it can lead to them being referred for more specialist support but often after these sessions, the young people have developed the skills and coping strategies to deal with the challenges they are facing in life. The blether programme usually lasts for 6 - 8 weeks meeting once weekly for 45 mins per session. Please note, that blether is not a crisis referral.

The group work and issue-based programmes are usually delivered with between 6-10 young people (depending on the venue) and the content of the sessions will be flexible to the needs of each group.

How to make a referral

To refer a young person please click the link below:

For more information please download a copy of the referral process:

It is recognised that requests for counselling may come from a variety of sources. Young people may approach the service directly, they may have contact through over projects delivered by the Youth Work Service for D&G and be referred by a Youth Worker, they may be involved with statutory or voluntary services such as Social Work, Youth Justice or a Third Sector Organisation.

The Youth Information in Schools Project is voluntary for young people to participate in and referrals should be completed with the child or young person's consent. A referral may be accepted or signposted elsewhere if it does not meet the criteria. A number of criteria for onward referral have been identified and can be downloaded below.

If a young person does not meet the criteria, this will be discussed with the professional or person who made the initial referral.

The 'Youth Information in Schools Project' sits within Dumfries and Galloway Council's Youth Work Service and is part of a wide range of informal community based and school support for young people throughout the region. This is a confidential service for young people.

Further information

Billie Hill (Youth Development Worker)
Youth Work Services
Tel: 01387 251322

Page last updated: 27/05/2021
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