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Place2Be launches new study into the long-term impact of school-based counselling on mental health

Place2Be launches new study into the long-term impact of school-based counselling on mental health

Place2Be is excited to announce a ground-breaking research study exploring the long-term impact of our one-to-one school-based counselling for children and young people across London. The City of London Corporation's charitable funder, City Bridge Foundation, and the Robinson family are generously funding the study. A member of the Robinson family is one of Place2Be's Trustees.

1 in 6 children have a diagnosable mental health condition, and 50% of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience problems by age 14. These figures highlight the need for early intervention to improve the mental health of children and young people in the long term.

Our research shows that children and young people's mental health consistently improves following receiving one-to-one counselling from Place2Be, with children and young people's wellbeing improving by:

  • 72%, according to their parents or carers
  • 64%, according to their teachers. 

These positive outcomes continue after one year. Our research shows that children who spoke to counsellors had considerably better mental health than children who had poor mental health and had not seen a counsellor.

This new study will examine whether these positive effects on mental health continue over a longer timeframe. Funding from the City of London Corporation's charitable funder, City Bridge Foundation - London's biggest independent charity funder, will allow Place2Be to follow up with a wider sample of individuals. Participants will include secondary school students and those who have left school so we can continue monitoring their progress long-term.

Our research will focus on children and young people aged 4–18 in London over four years. Research aims include:

  • what happens to the mental health of children and young people who receive counselling from Place2Be over the long term
  • factors associated with improvements in mental health
  • the impact of improvement on academic progress, school attendance and exclusions in the long term and progression into further and higher education or training
  • long-term wider impact of early intervention, including the potential cost benefits to society (reduced mental health difficulties in adulthood have been predicted to outweigh the cost of early mental health support).

How will we assess children and young people's mental health?

Children and young people's mental health will be reported by:

  • parents and carers
  • teachers
  • children and young people themselves. 

We will measure mental health through emotional and behavioural screening questionnaires like the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

The outcomes of children who received Place2Be counselling will be compared to others with similar backgrounds and mental health needs who have not received our counselling.

How will we include the voices of children and young people?

It's essential that children and young people themselves input into the research and benefit from it. Listening to their thoughts and experiences will be a key part of the study. We'll do this by:

  • establishing a Young Person's Steering Group to guide our research and discuss what we've learned
  • prioritising children's voices by including them in decisions about the support they'll receive and their counselling session goals, as well as asking for feedback at the end of their experience
  • interviewing children and young people's families annually to explore the longer-term impact of counselling in more detail.

Earlier this year, we asked young people from one of Place2Be's partner schools for their thoughts about the study:

It seems like a good piece of research. To assess that even past the counselling they are still doing okay, and that the information has been retained and to see if the strategies can help them throughout life. It’s assessing the long-term impact. Sam, year 9

Place2Be aims for this study to provide invaluable insight into the long-term effects and cost-benefits of school-based counselling. Outcomes will help us improve our services and inform people in the education and mental health sectors about the value of investing in early mental health interventions.

Learn more about our study with City Bridge

logo for the City Bridge Foundation, made up of 5 black horizontal straight lines with a blue wavy line underneath. The words 'City Bridge Foundation' are next to the lines.

The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Foundation, is generously funding this four-year research programme. City Bridge Foundation grants over £30m annually towards charity projects that benefit Greater London. 

Learn more about City Bridge Foundation

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