Service addresses critical youth mental health support

Derwent Rural Counselling Service has invested in specialist youth counselling training for its therapists to target an increasing number of under 18s suffering from mental health issues.

Thirteen therapists from the service, which has bases in Derby, Alfreton, Long Eaton, Matlock and Bakewell, have completed the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy recognised Change Certificate in Youth Counselling, the Change Foundation Certificate in solution focused practice and a safeguarding qualification.

The qualifications will allow DRCS, which is the biggest counselling provider in Derbyshire, the opportunity to increase its work with young people, especially aged 16 plus, across the county through either self-referrals or through a parent or school.

DRCS has seen its work with young people increase coinciding with national research identifying a mental health crisis escalating in young people. Prince Harry recently revealed he sought counselling for mental health issues surrounding the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

Menna Yarwood, clinical lead at DRCS, which provides counselling services for Talking Mental Health Derbyshire, said: “Children face huge pressures from cyber-bullying, exam stress, family life and the constant demands of social media. Struggling alone within formative years can seriously affect health and wellbeing. Learning to take care of their own and others’ mental health can give young people skills and strength for life.

“Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition, but often young people struggle to ask for help when they’re suffering. Without good mental health, young peoples’ ability to learn and take in new information can be significantly affected.

“Therapists’ training and development is key to us being able to offer help to more young people. We have a great deal of experience working with this age group and in schools and can be dealing with children as young as six years old across Derbyshire.”

Work with young people can take the form of counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, but also solution focussed work such as role play and group discussions which is very successful with this age group.

The courses, which included client work and group supervision, tackled young people’s issues including family network systems, safeguarding, bereavement and loss, physical emotional and sexual abuse, divorce and separation, body image and eating disorders.

A recent survey of 1,000 British parents with children under 18 by mental health charity The Shaw Mind Foundation highlighted that protecting their children’s mental health was a top concern for four out of five parents.

A petition calling on the Government to make mental health education compulsory in primary and secondary schools has been signed by more than 54,000 people.

Earlier this year, ministers announced that personal, social and health education (PSHE) will be compulsory in the future, following further consultation on what it should include.

For further details on DRCS and its services for young people visit drcs.org.uk or call free on 0800 047 6861

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