Spotlight: The Beck Wellbeing Services
I recently met with Aaron, who is the wellbeing co-ordinator at The Beck Wellbeing Services, and found out a lot about what the service has to offer.
What is The Beck and what services does it offer?
The Beck is a wellbeing service that provides one-to-one and group counselling and wellbeing sessions for children and young people in schools. The wellbeing services are provided as less intense forms of early interventions for lower level emotional needs. This also includes a mediation service available involving young people and their parents. For moderate to severe mental health needs, young people are referred for counselling. The wellbeing sessions usually consist of creative work either in group settings or one-to-one with a wellbeing worker. These sessions help young people work through common issues and topics that can cause anxiety or distress such as friendships, transitions (e.g to high school), conflict, exams and relationships.
Who does The Beck support?
The Beck supports students in primary and secondary school as well as sixth form and college students. The mediation service also supports parents alongside young people.
What is the process of accessing the service? Do I need a referral?
The Beck works with a number of schools in Leeds and referrals are usually made by the schools to the service for regular one-to-one wellbeing or counselling sessions. However, some schools, such as Leeds East Academy, Bishop Young Academy and The Co-op Academy offer drop-in sessions which don’t require referrals. To access this service, speak to your head of year or pastoral lead and they’ll be able to tell you more about the process. Referrals to the mediation service can be made by professionals, parents and young people.
Referrals usually take a few months to be processed however it largely depends on the cluster that your school is in. On average, the wait will be around two to three months for wellbeing and counselling sessions.
When can I access the services and where?
Since The Beck works directly with schools, all sessions take place at school, within school hours. This can be quite useful as there is no travelling required. During school holidays and half terms, The Beck holds day trips and activities such as going to the trampoline park or taking a trip to Otley Chevin. This year, The Beck organised around 24 activities during the summer holidays comprising various activities over the six weeks.
How does parental consent, safeguarding and confidentiality work?
Each referral needs to be signed off by a parent or guardian and there may be an initial conversation with parents and/or teachers to assess how you are a doing at home or at school however the sessions are completely confidential unless the wellbeing worker or counsellor feels that you pose a harm to yourself or someone else. In this situation, they would need to break confidentiality and inform your school.
What is the best thing about The Beck?
This service is very much young-person centred. From the initial assessment to the sessions themselves, the priority is always about the young person and what they want to achieve out of the sessions. It is also not directly connected to the school which can often be quite a nice thing. A lot of the time, people may feel uncomfortable talking to teachers or members of staff from school so having people that don’t work in the school means that it can be a much more relaxed setting.
Limitations to The Beck?
As with all services, there are some limitations to The Beck Wellbeing Services. The main one being that this service isn’t offered in all schools- only the ones that have opted for the service can offer it. Although there is some flexibility, the number of counselling, wellbeing and group work sessions is limited. They offer eight sessions of counselling and wellbeing, and six group work sessions.
The Mediation and Parent Counselling Service
Beck Family Mediation is a City wide service, funded by Children in Need and open to young people aged 10-18 and their parent/ carer. Family Mediation works to help young people and their parent/ carer resolve conflict and discover more effective ways of communicating. The Beck are also currently offering a Parent mediation pilot which will be rolled out over the next 12 months. Parent Mediation aims to help separated or divorced/ divorcing parents improve communication and reduce conflict, keeping the young person’s needs at the centre.
Mediation wait times are around 8 weeks after the initial referral to the initial assessment. Referrals can be made by professionals, parents or young people themselves. Consent is required at the referral stage and the referrals go directly to The Beck’s wellbeing manager, Nicola French. These mediation sessions can be accessed flexibly depending on your needs. In-person support is offered at centres in Harehills and Gipton and if required, the mediation team can travel to an approved venue closer to you. Alternatively, Zoom can also be offered.
Aside from The Beck, GIPSIL also offers longer term services for young people in years 9,10 and 11 who have experienced the care system. This is called the AIM Project and it provides various group and one-to-one settings in order to support transitioning to the next stage of their career.
Overall, The Beck is a great service which really tries to put the needs of young people as the main priority and is a very good option for people who struggle to travel or find time for support outside of school and school hours. To find out more details, speak to your school’s pastoral lead or go here