Since 2011, Ewen’s Room has been delivering awareness lessons about emotional wellbeing and good mental health to the young people of Ardnamurchan High School. Over the years, this has developed into an established partnership with the school, but discussions with pupils in 2018 indicated that there was still a gap in support for those who were having serious emotional problems.
This led us to propose a Young Persons’ Counselling Service which Ewen’s Room would deliver in the school. The idea was well received by the staff, local GPs and the Highland Council’s local health and welfare support team.
Following successful grant applications, we set up the service in March of this year. Our qualified counsellor, Margot MacDonald (pictured left) now visits the school every week and offers the opportunity for any of the young people to seek help with any emotional and mental health problems they may be facing.
The service offers psychoeducation in terms of resourcefulness and strategies for the young people to manage their wellbeing issues on their own terms. It is a listening service, offering assessment of risk and short-term therapy.
Professional supervision and support for Margot is provided by Glenborrodale based, Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist, Dr Stephanie Patton, who also ensures due diligence for all aspects of the service.
More recently, we have undertaken to extend the service to Mallaig High School, and have applied for Scottish Government funding to support this for the next three years. This aligns well with the Government’s undertaking to provide a counsellor in every school in Scotland by the end of that period.
It is very fortuitous for such a rural area, that we have access to both a qualified young person’s Counsellor, and a Young Person’s Clinical Psychologist within acceptable travelling reach of the two high schools in West Lochaber.
We hope that provision of this service will help to create a brighter future for all our young people.
On behalf of Ewen’s Room