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National guidelines on mental health in secondary schools published

The guidelines provide information to schools on how to address mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

Image: Classroom image via Shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched new guidelines today for mental health and suicide prevention for post-primary schools.

The guidelines provide schools and the agencies supporting them with information on how to address issues around mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

The guidelines are for all members of the school community including boards of management and in-school management team. They are also aimed at the statutory and non-statutory partners, parents, parents’ associations, students, student councils, health and other personnel who are seeking an understanding of how to best work in and with schools.

It is estimated that one in ten children and teenagers experience mental health disorders which impact on their relationships and day-to-day coping skills. Many mental health problems emerge in childhood and early adolescence.

The guidelines are divided into three main sections:

  • School support for all provides for a whole-school approach to mental health and suicide prevention;
  • School support for some specifically focuses on the early identification of a small number of young people or groups who are at risk of developing unhealthy patterns of behaviour or who are already showing early signs of mental health difficulties;
  • School support for a few outlines how schools can support young people with more complex or enduring needs relating to their mental and emotional well-being.

Today, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said the promotion of well-being and the prevention of suicidal behaviour among young people is a major concern for the government.

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“Young people learn more effectively if they are happy and feel supported in school,” he said. “Building resilience and emotional well-being is crucial to their school progress and their success in life.”

Read in full: Well-Being in Post Primary Schools – Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention>
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