THERE will be more targeted support for secondary school pupils in the Wee County from next September.

Professional counselling services will be available to all young people in Clackmannanshire's three public academies with a £623,000 Scottish Government investment over four years.

The move is to support pupils' emotional, behavioural and mental health and it is understood services will be available during the school holidays as well.

Clackmannanshire Council confirmed it is on track to put services in place by next September.

A similar wellbeing and listening service has already been in place since last year with Scottish Attainment Challenge funding used.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: "This additional funding will allow us to provide more support to pupils who require targeted support, but will be part of our wider and more integrated approach in Clackmannanshire to support pupils' health and wellbeing.

"The education service is working with a variety of partners from the third sector and health service to ensure that children and young people are seen by the right services at the right time, and we are promoting a 'tell us once' approach to avoid children and families having to repeat their 'story' to numerous different agencies."

The investment, which will see the council receive £131,000 in the first year and £164,000 in the following years, was welcomed by MSP Keith Brown.

He added: "I am pleased that, by the start of the new school year, students across Clackmannanshire will have increased access to professional counselling services.

"Children and young people can face many issues growing up and must have the right support available at the right time.

"I understand that steps are already being taken to improve mental health provision in schools, with the Readiness for Learning (R4L) approach implemented throughout Clackmannanshire.

"The additional government funding will bolster local efforts and is just one of the measures put forward in the SNP government's package to improve the mental health support available for children and young people."