The Northpoint Wellbeing Counselling Scholarship
To celebrate Black History Month, Leeds Beckett University is looking at what is being done to increase the diversity of the workforce.
Earlier this year the university and Northpoint Wellbeing, a local mental health charity, formed a partnership to support people who are traditionally under-represented in the counselling and mental health professions.
The partnership is providing a number of scholarships to encourage Black, Asian, and other people of colour to train become a qualified practising therapeutic counsellor on the MA Integrative Counselling in Leeds Beckett’s School of Health.
Northpoint Wellbeing is also providing access to additional mentorship for scholarship-holders. Jon Davis, Director at Northpoint Wellbeing, said: “Around 18% of our workforce at Northpoint identify as BAME, but we’re keen to attract more people of colour into counselling and mental health professions, so that we can better serve our communities. This scholarship is about signalling an intention for change in the sector, and we’re proud to be working with Leeds Beckett towards this goal.”
The aim of the scholarship fund and its mentorship is to support the development of a more diverse psychological therapies workforce.
Maryam Riaz, a Lecturer in Counselling and Mental Health in the School of Heath and a registered Psychotherapist said it’s about getting the right approach: “Working with and targeting particular communities, we may need to take a targeted approach, for example, like the Northpoint Scholarship programme that we’ve introduced this year. It is specifically targeted to a community where counsellors and therapists are lacking, so we can improve the number of therapists available in the service.”
Maryam added: “I think the pandemic has really highlighted the need for mental health services to represent diverse communities. Those communities that are disproportionately impacted by severe mental health then have people representing their communities, their cultural heritage, ethnicity, background and gender, so that they feel comfortable accessing services and support to meet their needs.
“If it wasn’t for the scholarship, then these students wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enter the profession and that’s what we want. We want to be able to offer opportunities where otherwise students and people from disadvantaged backgrounds may never have had the opportunity to pursue and MA in Integrative Counselling and become a qualified practitioner.”
Maryam is an experienced lecturer teaching in Counselling and Mental Health courses offered by the School in Psychological Therapies and Mental Health. She is a BACP registered Psychotherapist.