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(Ireland) "One in 3 Irish children younger than 13 experienced mental health difficulties"

June 20, 2018, (Ireland) Independent: Primary schools struggle to help suicidal children 'as young as four Primary schools are dealing with very young children with serious mental health difficulties including self-harming and suicidal thoughts, according to a new study. The findings have sparked calls for the urgent establishment of a nationwide primary schools' counselling service to provide professional back-up to principals and teachers dealing with pupils in distress. Family issues and relationship breakdowns were cited as the most common underlying causes for distress in children. Up to a quarter of school principals also reported the occurrence of a "critical" incident in their school, varying from a bomb scare to suicide to murder. … According to the principals, family breakdown and a chaotic home life sometimes left young children upset or refusing to attend school. Principals also reported feeling ill-equipped to respond to the complexity of children's needs and the burden now sees a third of schools providing on-site counselling on an ad-hoc basis. "We know that addressing children's psychological difficulties enhances their learning experience, but the extent and range of difficulties that children are presenting with in school needs urgent attention, not only to improve their educational chances but to help them deal with their emotional struggles." Paul Gilligan, CEO for St Patrick's Mental Health Services, said research suggested that one in three Irish children younger than 13 experienced mental health difficulties. "This report shows that mental health supports in school are vital. Now, more than ever, children are dealing with complex and challenging issues which have a significant effect on their well-being. …

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