NMD Council backs motion to support child counselling

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) may be set to generate financial support for young people suffering from “emotional difficulties”.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's Monaghan Row headquarters.Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's Monaghan Row headquarters.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council's Monaghan Row headquarters.

The council has agreed to contact schools in its district to detail the “challenges” they face gaining therapy resources for children.

However, a move by a qualified academic counsellor in chambers, to propose the creation of a national youth counselling register, failed to be included in the council’s proposal.

Downpatrick SDLP rep Conor Galbraith brought forward the motion.

Alliance Cllr Jill Truesdale.Alliance Cllr Jill Truesdale.
Alliance Cllr Jill Truesdale.

It read: “This council notes that young people experiencing emotional problems may find it difficult to engage with the education process to reach their full potential.

“Especially those aged 16 – 18, and may require sustained contact with a qualified adult who is not directly involved with their education or training and can provide necessary therapies.

“This council welcomes the work undertaken by the Independent Counselling Service for Schools (ICSS) as well as the support in further education to support the emotional health and wellbeing of young people.

“The council supports the need for schools, colleges and other youth providers to bring in external agencies with necessary expertise when there is limited access to support and will write to all schools, colleges and youth providers in the district to ascertain the challenges they are facing in obtaining these resources. And commits to revisit this matter once responses have been received to determine if additional financial support may be required.”

Cllr Conor Galbraith.Cllr Conor Galbraith.
Cllr Conor Galbraith.

An amendment was brought forward by Slieve Croob Sinn Fein councillor, Siobhan O’Hare to clarify the proposal on those who would provide support to children.

She said: “The support of young people who may be experiencing emotional difficulties is a very important aspect of what happens in our schools and colleges.

“And this is an often underfunded in resource, so I welcome the motion.

“I would seek a bit of clarity, to change the wording from ‘a qualified adult’ to a ‘qualified counsellor’.”

The amendment was agreed. However, a move for further amendment by Alliance councillor Jill Truesdale, a “qualified academic counsellor” was not accepted.

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