A counsellor in every school in England

BACP campaigns for a counsellor in every school

Following the new Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza’s recent appeal for every child to have access to therapy, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has highlighted their ‘School Counselling in England’ Campaign. Recognising that England lags behind similar government funded schemes in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, BACP is urging people to sign its petition. You can find out more about the campaign to provide every school, academy, and FE College with a paid counsellor on the BACP website.

The Association recognises how increased anxiety brought about by the unique challenges of COVID-19 have left children feeling more vulnerable than before. Professional counselling within the school environment is seen as vital in giving children and young adults the best chance of coping with these challenges.

Children’s Commissioner wants to rebuild childhood

Dame Rachel’s comments fit within her wider call on the BBC website to ‘rebuild childhood’ following the pandemic. After ‘seeing first-hand the effect of this crisis on young people’s hopes and dreams’, Dame Rachel asserts that sometimes our responses have not been good enough. She is urging policy makers to seize this moment in history, and to restructure our offer to children with the same spirit and ambition as the Beveridge report in 1942. This report went on to form the basis of the modern Welfare State in the UK after the end of World War Two, and it was as ambitious as it was popular, possibly because it was built on around individual responsibility as well as state intervention.

COVID-19 lost generation

It’s too early to see if anything so positive and transformational will emerge from the current crisis, although the Children’s Commissioner has already spoken of her commitment to ensuring there isn’t a ‘lost generation’ because of COVID. As well as calling for no reduction in Universal Credit, and the provision of free school meals through the summer holidays, Dame Rachel announced the launch of a ‘Big Ask’. This survey will gather the views and opinions of children’s reactions to the pandemic, as well as other barriers to achievement.

If you would like to know more about therapy, or you are looking for private counselling in Wolverhampton, Walsall, or the West Midlands area please Contact Me or call 07824 385338.

Registered Counsellor in the West Midlands

Louise Lalley MBACP Registered Counsellor

I am pleased to announce that having successfully completed the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy’s assessment of competency, I am now a fully registered Counsellor in the West Midlands. Becoming a registered member requires counsellors to demonstrate some of their skills as a therapist via a formal assessment, as well as adhering to BACP’s quality and ethical framework. This includes meeting the association’s standards in regard to training, supervision, and continual professional development.

My unique registration number is 384624. You can search the list of all BACP registered counsellors and therapists using the association’s web site at https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-us/protecting-the-public/bacp-register/

BACP Registered Member number

You can find out how BACP maintains and promotes standards through its professional registration programme, via their web site.

What does BACP registration mean?

Being a BACP Registered Member won’t change the way I work. I am still providing a local counselling service to people in the Walsall, Willenhall, and Wolverhampton areas in the West Midlands. I’m happy to work with anyone in need of counselling outside the area, by phone or video call. Amongst other areas, I offer therapy for anxiety, bereavement, depression and stress, and you can find a list of other areas I can help with on the Therapy and Me page. My therapy sessions are face-to-face, by phone or via Zoom, and I provide counselling on a one-to-one basis for individuals, as well as helping couples. Standard therapy sessions are 50 minutes in duration. I offer reduced rates for people on low incomes, and you can find a list of fees here.

Contact Me

If you are looking for a registered therapist in the West Midlands, or would like to know more about how I can help then please get in touch. You can call me on 07824 385338, or you can find my details via the Contact Me page.

COVID-19 and mental health

Effects of COVID-19 on mental health in Wolverhampton, Walsall and the West Midlands

It’s difficult to predict the longer term effects of Coronavirus in the West Midlands region, let alone more locally in Wolverhampton and Walsall, but a recent article from the charity, The Health Foundation considers some of the longer term mental health effects of COVID-19 in the UK. The article is significant for therapists and counsellors in the local area because it highlights how groups are being affected disproportionately, based on some of the social and economic factors we see across Wolverhampton, Walsall, and the West Midlands.

Anxiety, depression and lockdown

Citing a study of ninety-thousand adults by University College London, the article points out those on lower household incomes, living in urban areas or sharing their homes with children, experienced lockdown differently from the rest of the population. Although it’s not unique to the West Midlands region, it’s clear to see how this matches the profile of some of the most disadvantaged living in the Wolverhampton and Walsall areas. The experience of lockdown included heightened and continuing feelings of depression and anxiety, even after restrictions began easing in June 2020. A similar trend was observed for younger people and those with pre-existing mental health issues.

COVID-19 affects mental health
Image by Christo Anestev from Pixabay

Factors affecting mental health

Making the case for a link between poor mental and physical health, the report goes on to detail the drivers for poor mental health during the pandemic. These include:


Around five percent of the adult population report feelings of loneliness. Although this is similar to pre-pandemic levels, a disproportionate amount of working adults have identified as feeling lonely for the first time. This is probably a result of being isolated from their work colleagues. Reported incidents of domestic violence also increased during lockdown, an indirect consequence of social isolation. Described by the UN as a ‘shadow pandemic’, it’s estimated that cases have increased by twenty percent globally.

Financial Hardship

As well as a loss of income for the newly unemployed, many self-employed people experienced varying degrees of financial loss almost immediately lockdown began. Recognised as a good scheme by slowing the increase in unemployment, furloughed employees also experienced a twenty percent drop in their income. Young people in less stable working environments seemed to have been disproportionately affected by changes in employment. 

These changes can impact on mental health in a number of ways, including increased levels of anxiety associated with real and perceived losses of income. Worklessness and unemployment is strongly linked with poor mental health for many people. Although work can induce stress for some, it is also a coping mechanism for others. So, as workers were sent home there were fewer avenues for some people to share issues or feel a sense of purpose associated with their normal working routine.


As most people were urged to stay at home during the early phase of lockdown, housing inequalities came to the fore. The report suggests one in eight of the UK population have no access to a shared or private garden, and it’s reasonable to suggest these people in this group experienced lockdown differently from those with easy access to outdoor space. Although difficult to measure, those in poor quality accommodation may have suffered from spending more time at home. Again, this factor seems to have affected some groups disproportionately – BAME people are almost four times less likely than white people to have access to outdoor space at home.

Healthcare and other Frontline Workers

The report suggests it’s too early to see the longer term effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of frontline workers, but research from previous pandemics suggest a heightened risk for workers in this sector. An increase in depression and PTSD cases can be expected, with drug and alcohol misuse emerging as a consequence.

Finally, the report highlights how reduced access to mental health services was an issue in itself. As with physical health, a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists pointed out a marked drop in attendances at routine appointments during lockdown. As a result, there was a tendency for people to delay seeking help until a crisis point was reached, presenting with more severe issues.


The longer term effects of COVID-19 on mental health are not yet known, but the considerations  above suggest that issues created or heightened by the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown are unresolved. The Health Foundation article concludes that without proper funding, problems that are being stored for the future will remain unresolved. Not only will this limit so many people’s lives by affecting their mental well-being, but it will likely lead to declining physical health, with long-term social and economic consequences.

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, or if you are thinking about therapy and would like to know more, please call me on 07824 385338 or use the form on the Contact Me page.

NSPCC launches campaign to help children with suicidal thoughts

Childline charity is contacted 67 times each day by children with suicidal thoughts and feelings

The NSPCC revealed this week there’s been a sharp rise in the number of under 11s contacting its Childline support service for help with thoughts of despair, including suicide. Although most of the twenty-four thousand young people who called the charity in 2108/19 were teenagers, the NSPCC reported an almost 90% increase in the number of under 11s using Childline compared with the previous three years.

For children with suicidal thoughts contacting the charity, the most common underlying issues were linked to difficult family relationships and problems at school or college. Some callers were aware of the negative impact to their mental health and how this could manifest as self-harm (read last week’s post about Self-Injury Awareness Day), a growing issue with young people.

To help combat this trend, the NSPCC announced the launch of a new campaign called KIDS in Real Life. They are asking the public to help them improve the mental health of children, especially in the online space where there are more ways for abuse, bullying and harm to occur than a generation ago. The charity is asking people to join in with their Pledge to Protect and if possible, to support Childline’s important work in providing a service to kids in times of crisis, by making a donation. Please follow the links if you think you can help.