East Lothian Council has awarded Midlothian Young Peoples Advice Service (MYPAS) a three-year contract to deliver a school counselling services for 10-18 year olds who live in East Lothian.
Good mental health and wellbeing is essential for the learning and development of our children and young people.
Counsellors will support children, young people and families to improve their mental health and wellbeing. They will provide a safe space for people to talk about their difficulties and help them find their own ways of addressing concerns. The service will include specialist play or art-based methods for primary school children over 10 years-old, weekly walk-in sessions for young people in secondary schools and the ability to offer services out with school hours. Referrals will be prioritised for care experienced children and young people, and family counselling will be available for a small number of cases.
Funding was provided by the Scottish Government to cover the three-year contract, which was awarded following a competitive tendering process.
MYPAS is an award-wining charitable organisation based in Dalkeith which already provides a Drugs and Alcohol support service and an LGBT+ support service for East Lothian’s young people. As part of the new contract with East Lothian Council it will work closely with schools, Education and Children’s Services, CAMHS and the third sector to ensure a planned and coordinated approach. The work is a key part of a wider drive by the East Lothian Children’s Strategic Partnership to improve mental health and wellbeing for our children and young people.
Cabinet member for Education and Children’s Services Councillor Shamin Akhtar said: “I am very pleased to see this specialist service available through our schools which will be of great benefit. Good mental health and wellbeing is essential for the learning and development of our children and young people.
“This service will offer children and young people the opportunity to deal with any issues they are facing in a confidential and supportive way. MYPAS will work closely together with our schools to offer mental health awareness sessions for S3 pupils, and support our staff and partners to develop professionally in this field. This approach will continue our work to create an open culture and healthy conversations around mental health and wellbeing.”
Dave Evans, Chief Executive of MYPAS said: “We are delighted to be awarded this contract from East Lothian Council. It is recognised that children and young people’s mental health is a priority in East Lothian and the School Counselling service will form a key part of multi-agency developments to address this priority. We are keen for the new service to integrate with the other services that MYPAS already provides in East Lothian and to build on them to provide a truly holistic health and wellbeing service”
MYPAS has begun a recruitment campaign for additional trained counsellors able to deliver services in East Lothian.