Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity that provides in-school support and training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, and staff in primary and secondary schools. Founded in 1994, by 2016/17 Place2Be’s services were reaching 116,000 pupils across 282 primary and secondary schools in the UK.   Mental health problems affect a significant number of children and young people in the UK. An estimated one in ten children and young people aged 5-16 in the UK have a mental health condition. Mental health problems can have a significant impact on children and young people’s lives, and without effective intervention can damage their long-term prospects

Place2Be asked Pro Bono Economics to assess the value for money of its one-to-one counselling service in primary schools. The study looked at the improvement in mental health of pupils from 251 primary schools, covering 4,548 children who had received one-to-one support from Place2Be counsellors over the school year 2016/17. Dr Allan Little, our PBE volunteer authored the report. We would like to thank Allan for his excellent work on this report.  Our analysis is intended to provide insight into the economic case for in-school provision of this type of service and to support commissioning decisions.

Key findings:

Our analysis of the counselling scheme in 2016/17 shows that: 

  • Providing counselling services in primary school could lead to improved outcomes in the form of reduced rates of truancy, exclusion, smoking, depression, and crime, and also higher rates of employment and wages. 
  • Every £1 invested in the service in 2016/17 results in benefits of £6.20 in terms of improved long-term outcomes.
  • The estimated benefit of counselling is £25.9m for all the children who received counselling in 2016/17 compared to a cost of £4.2m for the service.
  • The potential benefit per child from counselling is just over £5,700 per child, including a saving of over £2,000 per child for government.

Overall, we consider that our analysis shows the potential for counselling services in primary schools to generate significant economic benefits resulting from improved outcomes for children in adolescence and adulthood.

The report can be downloaded below.