The Department of Education and the Public Health Agency commissioned the National Children's Bureau to undertake a scoping report to establish what level of support for emotional health and wellbeing is currently being provided for children and young people through schools and in youth services, and the issues they are facing.
The findings of this report, along with emerging research, will inform the development of an emotional health and wellbeing framework for children and young people in education, being developed collaboratively by Departments of Education and Health, Public Health Agency, Health and Social Care Board and the Education Authority.
Celine McStravick, Director of the National Children’s Bureau in Northern Ireland, said:
“The research we undertook on behalf of the Departments of Health and Education and the Public Health Agency has crucial lessons for policymakers about the pressures facing children and young people growing up to day.”
“We asked nearly 300 schools across Northern Ireland about the mental health challenges that beset children and young people: we found rising levels of anxiety and stress, with the pressure to do well in exams and from social media being important factors.
“But we also found that many schools are providing vital mental health support to young people and taking steps to build children’s resilience and wellbeing early on. This matters as effective promotion of positive emotional wellbeing in children has been proven to reduce the likelihood of mental illness in later life, and schools that involve the whole school community in building good mental health and wellbeing see the greatest results.
“With high level commitment at Executive level to addressing mental health and emotional wellbeing, pace is of the utmost importance. The National Children’s Bureau looks forward to supporting the Departments in Northern Ireland to develop a ‘what works’ blueprint, ensuring that children and young people have a voice in this process and that they receive the right help at the right time.”