ASCL NI comment on report into children’s mental health and wellbeing

Robert Wilson, Regional Officer at ASCL Northern Ireland, comments on a study from Northern Ireland’s Mental Health Champion, which shows that the wellbeing of children aged 11 is at its lowest level since 2010 and that 45.2% of 16-year-olds have a probable mental illness.
“The findings of the Mental Health Champion will come as no surprise to school and college leaders. Mental health issues have been growing for a number of years and, as this report suggests, the pandemic has greatly exacerbated this. Schools are dealing with the impact of this on a daily basis, and are doing all they can to support their students, but they cannot solve what is an increasingly complex societal problem on their own. Schools are already battling funding pressures and a congested curriculum; there needs to be external professional support readily available to provide young people with the help that they need in a timely manner.
“This report also serves as a reminder that there is a high proportion of the Northern Ireland population living in poverty and that this increases the risk of mental ill-health. Action must be taken to address this as a matter of urgency.”