A CALL has been made for the Government to fund counselling for every secondary school pupil in Scotland.

The group representing 37,000 counsellors and psychotherapists in Britain said funding was needed so the service is available to young people who need it.

It has been proposed by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) in its submission to a consultation on the new Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill includes ­measures to improve access to counselling for troubled families but BACP said this falls short of providing it to all young people.

In its written evidence to the consultation, BACP says access needs to be more widely available.

It described the limited Scottish proposals as a major omission in a context where 8% of Scots children aged 5-16 were identified as having mental health problems, according to 2004 figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The same study found that almost 45% of Scottish ­children in council care suffered from poor mental health.

Where counselling is offered, the association says that families should be given information or the types of therapy available and a choice of what is provided.

Karen Cromarty, BACP senior lead adviser on children and young people, said: "Studies in Scotland have shown that counselling can directly help with a range of issues such as bullying, bereavement and eating disorders.

"The Scottish Government called for counselling for all young people in 2005, and this legislation presents the first opportunity to make this a reality."