Principals point to mental health issue among secondary school students
The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) has responded to a report into the mental health of third level students by the Union of Students in Ireland, published this morning, August 27.
Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said: “While the findings of today’s USI report expose the extent of mental health issues which many third level students are now experiencing, it equally raises questions about the challenges faced by all students."
"It is important to bear in mind that the extent of these mental health challenges are certainly not confined to our higher and further education sector, rather, as our school principal members frequently tell us, mental health problems are also a significant feature of secondary education."
"The mental health problems identified by the USI’s report, do not just develop once students begin third level education, they often manifest during students’ secondary education years," he added.
Research undertaken by the NAPD earlier this year found that the vast majority of students (87%) found studying for the Leaving Cert stressful.
"The findings reinforce the need for improved access to mental health services across all levels of our education system, including in our secondary schools," Clive said.
"Early intervention is key to supporting students who may be struggling with mental health issues. Improved access to mental health services in our secondary schools is central to doing so."
"We need to a move to a position, which is the norm in many other education systems, where students can have on-demand access to school counsellors vs. long waits for services or no access. Our education system needs to resource and support the development of all aspects of our students, including positive mental health."