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Dublin: 9°C Monday 8 March 2021

70% of primary school parents concerned about impact of Covid-19 on children's mental health

A quarter of parents are either “very” or “extremely” concerned about their children’s mental health.

Image: Shutterstock/Claire Adams

PARENTS OF PRIMARY school children are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their children’s mental health, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, saw responses from 1,500 parents across Ireland. It found that 70% of the parents asked say they are concerned, while a quarter say they are “very” or “extremely” concerned.

Concerns included children missing their friends, the transition back to school and a lack of social interaction.

Parents also needed assistance when dealing with their children’s anxiety, loneliness and isolation as well as developing their coping strategies.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy are proposing to investigate how a pandemic-induced mental health crisis can be prevented in Ireland. See how you can support this project here>

A third of parents surveyed said that they wouldn’t know who to go to when looking for mental health supports for their children, with the majority turning towards friends and family for advice.

A total of 17% of the children of parents who responded have received mental health support, from places like private counselling, schools or HSE community support.

“We know that the pandemic has had mental health impacts for all of Irish society, and children in particular are feeling the effects from disruption to their school and social lives,” said Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

Gilligan says that supports are available for parents of children who are being negatively affected and that these issues will subside as life returns to normal.

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“As schools come to a close for summer holidays, it is timely to remind parents that the key ways to keep our children mentally healthy apply during these unusual times, reminding them they are loved, teaching them how to be happy and to have self-belief, ensuring they feel safe and helping them to meet emotional challenges,” said Gilligan. 

According to Gilligan, the results of this survey will be used in future to develop additional resources to assist parents in supporting their children’s mental health.

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