Exploring the impact of the Welsh school-based counselling strategy

Counselling, delivered by a professionally trained workforce, is increasingly seen as an effective early intervention for young people who have emotional, behavioural or social problems, and has been adopted in Wales. Primary care often represents the first point of contact with healthcare services and is an important source of care for young people with common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

In 2010 the Welsh Government commissioned a research consortium led by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the University of Strathclyde to undertake an evaluation of its school-based counselling strategy. The evaluation found that implementation of the Strategy and its counselling services was generally seen as successful by all stakeholders, including counselling clients, with evidence that all key recommendations for its development were implemented. Welsh Government seeks further evidence from routinely collected data sources to further assess the impact of this strategy and inform future decisions regarding the establishment of secure streams of funding for this policy and also the potential for roll out into the primary schools sector.

Key questions

This research will assess the impact (recording of depression, anxiety and psychotropic medications) of the Welsh Government delivery of counselling services in all secondary schools across Wales.

Project lead

Professor Ann John and Jo Mcgregor, Swansea University (ADR Wales).

This project is funded by ADR Wales via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.

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