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Every £1 spent on Place2Be support for primary schoolchildren generates £8 in benefits to society

Place2Be’s specialist one-to-one counselling service for primary schoolchildren generates £8 in benefits for every £1 spent, according to a new study by Pro Bono Economics.

The study estimates that the one-to-one counselling service provided by Place2Be in primary schools across the UK generates up to £36 million in long-term benefits each year, at an average cost of £4.5m each year.

Place2Be currently delivers its ‘whole school’ mental health support, including one-to-one counselling, in 350 primary schools around the UK.

PBE’s study, which looked at six academic years of Place2Be provision from 2015/16 to 2020/21, found that the cost of the charity’s one-to-one counselling service amounted to £1,100 per child on average.

According to the research, this generates long-term average benefits of up to £8,700 per child through higher wages and better employment outcomes for the individual, as well as reduced costs to taxpayers from the likes of lower truancy and crime rates and a decreased need for mental health support.

Rachel Gomez, Economist at Pro Bono Economics, said:

“Children’s mental health in the UK is at crisis point. The latest NHS data suggests there are five primary schoolchildren in every classroom with a probable mental disorder, a shocking statistic fuelled in part by the pandemic.

“We know that early interventions to support children who are struggling can help them to cope with the challenges they face – empowering them in childhood and setting them up for better wellbeing throughout their lives.

“The government has committed funding in recent years to attempting to deal with this growing problem in schools and colleges, but sadly these plans may not be enough – potentially leaving more than half of state school pupils without support.

“Meanwhile, Place2Be is delivering absolutely vital one-to-one counselling to primary school children who need it in around 350 schools across the UK each year. This programme is reaching thousands of children at just the right moment and delivering £36 million in long-term economic benefits every year.

“At a time of serious financial constraints, the government could benefit enormously from working closely with experts such as Place2Be and other charities that are delivering life-changing interventions on the ground in communities every day.”

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be, said:

“Place2Be has been providing mental health support in primary and secondary schools for over 25 years. This new analysis from Pro Bono Economics provides further evidence, drawing on our data and years of experience, to strongly demonstrate the case for early intervention and prevention.

“It’s clear that by supporting children at an early stage, we can not only alleviate distress and improve their wellbeing and ability to flourish both at home and in school now, but also make a difference in their life chances for the years to come.

“We regularly hear from teachers across the UK who are attempting to cope with increasing mental health needs in their classrooms – schools cannot face this growing need alone.

“Investing to enable children in all schools to access high quality, embedded mental health support, would not only address many of the problems facing us here and now, but will also have an enormous long-term benefit for our children, society and the wider economy as a whole.”

Place2Be’s corporate supporter, Morgan Stanley, has created the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health in recognition that the private sector can play a critical role in improving children’s mental health.

Joan Steinberg, President, Morgan Stanley Foundation and CEO, Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health Advisory Board, added:

“What was already a growing public health emergency prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, has evolved into a critical mental health crisis which we, as a society, need to collectively address with urgency. That is why we proudly support Place2Be as part of the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health, to help deliver positive impact and innovative solutions to address the challenges of stress, anxiety and depression in young people.

We firmly believe there is not only an opportunity, but an obligation for the private sector to play a role in improving children’s mental health and the analysis from Pro Bono Economics demonstrates the return on investment of mental healthcare provision in schools leading to better outcomes for children in later life. Place2Be’s counselling service in primary schools across the UK is a tangible example of the importance of early intervention and plays a vital role in increasing access to mental health services for children who need support.”

Read the full report

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