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Second Strand of Counselling & Mental Health Supports

Posted by SchoolDays newshound, on 26/06/2023. Second Strand of Counselling & Mental Health SupportsTags: Parenting Teachers

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has announced details of the second strand of a landmark programme of counselling and wellbeing/mental health supports to be piloted in a number of primary schools across the country from September 2023. Strand two of the significant pilot programme will see the establishment of a new type of support for clusters of primary schools, as well as the introduction of Education Wellbeing / Mental Health Practitioners who will work under the direction and supervision of the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).

Clusters of primary schools in Cork, Carlow, Dublin 7 and Dublin 16 will have the opportunity to take part in the second strand of the pilot programme. The supports to be provided will focus on strengthening whole-school preventative approaches and include the provision of psycho-education support for parents and teachers, as well as the provision of early intervention to groups of children or individual children with mild or emerging needs, using low-level therapeutically informed approaches.

The outlining of details of the second strand of this watershed programme follows an announcement last month that the first strand of the pilot will include the provision of an allocation of one-to-one counselling sessions for primary schools across counties Cavan, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan and Tipperary, via access to a Department of Education-approved counsellor. Minister Foley said: “The Department of Education is committed to supporting the emotional wellbeing of children and young people in our schools across Ireland, to help give them the best chance of being happy in their lives and reaching their full potential. I am very pleased, therefore, to have secured €5m from Budget 2023 for this programme and today to be announcing details of the second strand to provide new wellbeing / mental health supports to schools on a pilot basis for the 2023 / 2024 school year.

“Over half a million children in Ireland attend our primary schools – and all of them can experience challenges to their mental health and wellbeing. Many experienced particular upheaval in their young lives during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. This pilot will supplement services currently being provided in schools, including by the support services of the Department and the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), as well as the wider mental health supports available to children and young people through the health services, in working to help mitigate the mental health challenges experienced by children in our schools so that they can flourish.

“The Department looks forward to supporting the schools involved in this new and exciting initiative and will shortly be in touch with those schools to provide further detailed information on how it will progress. The Department of Education will work closely with the Department of Health and the HSE throughout the pilot and, together, will continue to explore ways to improve supports for children and young people, including around increased awareness, promoting help-seeking behavior and sign-posting to the wide range of available services.”

Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD said:

“This announcement of details of the second strand of this landmark pilot programme of counselling and wellbeing / mental health supports will be welcomed by primary schools, including special schools, across the country, working to support the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils.

“The commencement of this pilot programme in September 2023 highlights a clear commitment to strengthening preventative work across our school communities to help ensure all children have the very best possibility of realising the full extent of their own unique potential.”


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