Two Young Advisors have appeared on one of the UK’s biggest radio shows to discuss the mental health investigation the group led with our office.
Grace and Lewis, part of the team of Mental Health Investigators, spent 15 minutes being interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Drive show to mark Youth Mental Health Day 2023 on 19 September.
The investigation – Mental Health: Counselling in Schools – was the first time anywhere in the world that young people had used a children’s commissioner’s legal powers of investigation.
Grace told host Clare McDonnell: “We discovered that mental health counselling in schools was something that was kept quiet, it wasn’t being used to its full extent and it wasn’t being used before children were hitting crisis point.
“It was kept behind a closed door in schools – unless a teacher or someone was close to a school counsellor you wouldn’t be made aware of it.”
Lewis added: “It’s not always about schools having counsellors in place. It’s about children and young people knowing it’s in place and being able to access it when they need it. Quite a lot of young people from quite a lot of local councils weren’t aware that it wasn’t it place. It needs to be more open and more accessible. It needs to be accessed whenever and wherever you need it.”
Next month, the Scottish Government and COSLA are due to meet to discuss the Investigation’s recommendations. Head of Advice and Investigations Nick Hobbs, who was also interviewed, said: “We need to look at the gaps between the rhetoric – what the Scottish Government has said it wants to deliver – and what is happening on the ground. The work that’s been done by Lewis and Grace and the other Investigators has shone a helpful light on that. I’m hoping that at the meeting they will take some time to seriously consider the recommendations that the young people have made and take forward as many of them as possible.”