School counsellors in Hong Kong constitute an underutilised resource in supporting the wellbeing of young people. We investigated how counsellors working in local and international schools perceived their roles and professional status. Counsellors were both surveyed and interviewed. Findings indicate that local school counsellors have a low professional status and an unclear identity compared to their international counterparts. As a group, they are marginalised and disempowered within their own school settings, reducing their effectiveness, and limiting the benefits they can provide to students. Policy innovation at school level is needed to better utilise school counsellors. Professional organisations have an important role to play in educating the community about school counselling and advocating for policy change at school and government levels. Copyright © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.