Place2Be is a national charity providing emotional support to children in schools. We've grown from 5 schools in London to 257 schools nationwide.


"My experience as a counsellor working with adolescents gave me the passion to found Place2Be in 1994. I knew that we needed to reach children's problems sooner rather than later so their problems don't grow with them and they can view life with a sense of hope and engage with their learning."

- Benita Refson OBE, President of Place2Be


Why their work matters

The need for Place2Be's services is acute and growing every day. The costs of not providing early mental health support are considerable: children suffer, costs to taxpayers rise and society loses the potential of another individual.

The need for early intervention

A wealth of evidence points to a significant need for early mental health support:

  • One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years (three in every classroom) has a mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. Half of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14.
  • Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years.
  • One in five children have symptoms of depression and almost a third of the 16-25-year-olds surveyed had thought about or attempted suicide.
  • Ten years ago, detailed estimates put the costs of mental health problems in England at £77 billion, including costs of lost productivity and the wider impacts on wellbeing. More recent estimates suggest the costs may be closer to £105 billion.

Children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties in later life if they receive support at an early age, providing a cost saving to adult mental health services.

Growing evidence indicates that promoting positive mental health also improves a range of positive school outcomes, including enhanced academic progress, better attendance and lower exclusion rates.

At St John’s Place2Be provides emotional and therapeutic services at St John’s Primary School, building children's resilience through talking, creative work and play. This can help our children to cope with wide-ranging and often complex social issues including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.