(New Zealand) "Increasing levels of anxiety"; call for primary school counselors

Oct 29, 2017, New Zealand Herald: More mental health issues being seen at an earlier age, counselor says A Tauranga counsellor says she is seeing increasing levels of anxiety in children and would like counsellors to be brought into primary schools to address the issues earlier. Evelyn Probert from the Bay of Plenty Therapy Foundation, which has been providing free counselling for 25 years this month, said she is seeing more boys aged between 7 and 10 with anxiety, and a lot of teenage girls with depression and anxiety. "It seems to be getting worse," she said.... "Because we're seeing more mental health issues at a young age and these kids are missing out." While the Social Workers in Schools programme was in place at some lower socio-economic primary schools, she said, most schools did not have that programme or a counsellor available.... Ms Probert said reports of misbehaviour in the classroom had increased in recent years.... The school's special education needs coordinator, Barbara Phillips, had noticed quite a high number of students experiencing moderate to high levels of anxiety.... "Our school realised the need to deal with anxiety issues when the children are young and not allow anxieties to develop into major mental health issues as the children grow up." … Earlier this week Rotorua Principals Association president and Rotokawa School principal Briar Stewart said there was "such a big need" for counsellors in primary schools. The Government move to address child mental health and behavioural issues by piloting counsellors in primary schools was "an acknowledgement of the difficulties our children face and we are pleased to see children being made a priority", Mr Stewart told NZME.