Place2Be is a leading children's mental health charity providing in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional well-being of pupils, families, teachers and school staff. Founded in 1994, we have school-based teams across England, Scotland and Wales and are now working in over 250 schools reaching a school population of approximately 100,000 children across some of the most disadvantaged areas of the UK.
We provide a ‘whole school’ approach with a flexible menu of services that support pupils, families, teachers and school staff. This includes one-to-one counselling, a self-referral service and group work to meet the individual needs of children aged 4-14, helping them to cope with wide-ranging and often complex social issues including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.
Primary and secondary schools
Place2Be works in primary schools, laying a solid foundation for children early in their lives. Our work in secondary schools with children in Key Stage 3 (Years 7,8 and 9) provides vital support as young people make this potentially challenging transition from primary to secondary education.
Our universal service, Place2Talk, is open to all pupils. Children can refer themselves, come alone or with their friends to speak to a counsellor during lunch or break times. Because Place2Talk is offered to all children, counselling is de-stigmatised. This solution-focused service is used by an average of one third of children in schools each year.
Targeted support - the referral and counselling process
Children and young people at risk or showing higher levels of mental health or emotional need are referred by teachers, their parents or carers or professionals to Place2Be’s School Project Manager for an assessment. Place2Be only works with children for whom we have written consent from the parents or carers. Because counselling takes place within the safe, familiar and trusted environment of the school, the attendance rate is exceptionally high.
Once it is determined that a child would benefit from counselling, a counsellor meets with the child for weekly one-to-one sessions. Individual sessions may continue over a school term or as long as a whole academic year. Place2Be’s trained counsellors work in the way that is most appropriate for each child. For younger children, this involves therapeutic approaches which encourage the child to express her or himself in non-verbal ways, for example through artwork and play.
School Project Managers support parents and carers in the safe and non-stigmatising environment of the school through Parent Partnership. The aim is to help build parents’ understanding of their child’s needs or behaviour, improve confidence and the quality of the parents’ relationship with their child.
Free and confidential individual counselling is available to parents, grandparents and carers of children who are supported by Place2Be. A Place for Parents is delivered in the child’s school by a Place2Be Parent Counsellor, an experienced clinician who works across schools in the local areas. By helping parents to address their own issues – from domestic abuse, to drug and alcohol issues in the family, to depression, Place2Be helps parents and carers to become more self-aware, more at ease in their parenting roles and better able to develop positive and supportive relationships with their children and the school. By supporting the parents of a distressed child, and better equipping the adults to cope, the well-being of the whole family can be improved.
At present, Place2Be’s parent counselling is available in over half of our primary schools with plans to expand the service to all schools.
Based day-to-day in the school, School Project Managers provide professional support, guidance and input for school staff to build their understanding of children’s mental health and assistance with children and classroom behaviours that school staff may find challenging. This support is provided in a structured or flexible informal way, depending on the needs and culture of each individual school.
You are welcome to talk to your Place2Be School Project Manager; either face-to-face or via telephone or email. At Deptford Green School, our School Project Manager is Joanne Small You can contact Joanne via email on JSmall@deptfordgreen.co.uk and by telephone on 020 8691 3236
To find out more about Place2Be, please visit our website: www.place2be.org.uk