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Counselling and Psychotherapy for Children, families and adults

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The Bridge in Schools

Why Schools?



The prevalence of clinical mental health disorders in children/young people aged 5 - 16 is 1 in 10. That means that around 3 children/young people in every class are experiencing significant difficulties which are impacting on their learning. If you add those at risk of developing mental health difficulties, the number rises to one in four of our children and young people (Department of Education 2015*).


There is a direct link between mental health difficulties and educational attainment. As the Dept of Education* points out, students with conduct and behaviour disorders

¨ fall behind their peers

¨ often miss school and /or are excluded

¨ experience lasting impact on their life chances.

Schools also are affected by young people’s difficulties, which disrupt classes, often require extra staff support, and can make significant demands on teachers’ time.


At the same time, evidence from practice shows that schools are uniquely placed to work with young people who are struggling with emotional difficulties. In the Bridge in Schools, we believe that for this reason, it is vital to bring mental health expertise right to the heart of the school community.


Role of schools in improving emotional resilience

In 2015  the Department of Education* gave schools a key role in responding to young people in difficulty. Why?

¨ School staff are well placed to notice when their students are having difficulties and their observations can provide a unique opportunity to pick up and address these.

¨ Teachers and support staff are often key figures in young people’s lives, who can steer them to the help they need.

¨ A school-based mental health service can provide a holding environment and a safe base for young people to explore and make sense of their problems.

¨ School-based services are highly accessible: students can refer themselves, or be referred by school staff. They do not have to rely on parents/carers to access help.


Specialist input

DfEd’s Advice* also recognised that schools cannot take on this role on their own: specialist support is needed . The aim of Bridge in Schools is to provide highly trained clinicians who can bring the necessary expertise  - to help schools understand troubling behaviour, adapt positively to young people’s needs, provide on-site therapy, and contribute professional assessment reports as required.


*Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools: Departmental Advice, Department of Education 2015

"… support to students can directly prevent exclusions and reduce the risk of truancy …. Outcomes for parents include a better understanding of their children, improved parenting skills and increased confidence. The reduction in challenging behaviour means that classrooms are more conducive to learning. Staff report improved morale, increased retention and reduced stress…. The reduced strain on schools is a valuable outcome of projects of this type." ('School’s Out? - Truancy and Exclusion', 2005.) 

 If you would like further information, an information pack, or to arrange a visit by one of our staff to your setting, then please call 0117 9424510.


The Bridge Foundation for Psychotherapy and the Arts 2015         Registered Charity No. 1073759