One in eight UK primary to secondary school children is estimated to meet a mental health disorder criteria. And this study found that the 329 pupils who were offered the counselling services experienced a significant reduction in long-term psychological distress.

However, this service comes at a high price at £300 to £400 per pupil, and if going by 2020 ONS figures on the number of children between 5-18, this programme could cost approximately between £402m and £536m if one in eight UK students have the opportunity to be part of the programme. But this high price could be potentially justified by the long-term reduction and escalation of mental distress, creating a future reduction in the need for access to mental health services and treatment.

Jo Holmes, Children, Young People, and Families Lead at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy said: “Professionally delivered school counselling services are not cheap, and neither should they be. School counsellors are highly trained, experienced and skilled practitioners, often working with complex need and trauma linked to psychological distress. School counselling has the potential to take some of the short and long-term pressure off statutory provision, and can support young people as they transition to and from more specialist mental health services.”

Children are held back by the misconception that their peers are not compassionate

In other school news, results from another recent study conducted by Persil and Global Action Plan investigating pupils' mental health revealed that children believe that they have compassionate values but do not think so of their peers.

Analysis of the research found that because young people don’t perceive their fellow students as compassionate, they act less compassionately themselves, their wellbeing suffers, and they are more worried about the future. This extensive study dispelled the pervasive misconception that children are social media narcissists and are instead at heart, empathetic.

This research is part of a wider event that aims to discuss how children perceive their peers, impacts how they act about issues that they care about. Consequentially, Persil and Global Action Plan are calling on educational leaders to sign up for an event to discuss how to encourage young people to engage in social programmes and address their misconceptions.

Sonja Graham, Co-CEO at Global Action Plan, said: "This research reveals the importance of giving young people the opportunities and confidence to come together on the things they care about. Through the Persil Dirt Is Good Project, their actions will be made highly visible. As well as seeing the impacts of their own actions, they will witness other young people like themselves changing the world for the better too. They will see that they are in the majority and that we are united in compassion when it comes to tackling the world's most pressing challenges."