Newcastle City Council will discontinue the Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme starting next month, due to lack of funding.
67 schools who participated in the programme will cease to receive the hour a week of funded counselling and will no longer have access to a subsidised rate for any additional time purchased.
Newcastle City Council said it had sought to keep the programme running for as long as possible, after funding was slashed by central government years ago. But this will not be possible from April 1st onward.
The TaMHS programme is a mental health service which assists children, young people and families, predominantly between the ages of 5 to 13, who have or may be at risk of identified mental health difficulties.
A statement released by Kalmer Counselling Services, which has delivered counselling to schools in Newcastle through the TaMHS programme, argued that the programme was very successful and received glowing feedback from teachers. It adds:
“Schools will be left to meet the costs themselves, and many may not be able to continue with a counselling service. This is not due to lack of referrals or needs, but purely down to the Local Authority. Where does this leave all of the children currently in the service, and those who may need it after April 1st?”
A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said:
“Following the withdrawal of central government funding some years ago, Newcastle City Council sought to maintain the Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme for as long as possible with financial support from the Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
“This has enabled participating schools to receive one hour per week of funded counselling, plus a subsidised rate for any additional time purchased by schools.
“Unfortunately there are no further funds available for the programme from April 2017 onwards, and therefore the council cannot offer funded hours or subsidy from this date.
“Newcastle City Council continues to support schools to purchase student counselling services directly from the providers.”