When should we teach children about positive mental health?

Parents want children to begin building mental health skills at primary school - survey

Some 50 per cent of parents believe teachers should start introducing the idea of positive mental health to children from as early as ages four and five in junior infant classes, according to a new survey.

Ninety-nine per cent, agree that they want their children to begin building their mental health skills while still at primary school. And 50.5 per cent believe that class teachers should be the people to introduce the topic of mental health to pupils.

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services conducted the online survey, with the help of the National Parents’ Council Primary, to find out when parents think is the best time to start introducing the building blocks of good mental health. Almost 90 per cent of the 1,200-plus respondents believe parents themselves could benefit from health or wellbeing training.

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services promotes an education campaign called Walk in My Shoes Radio, which is running a pop-up radio station for World Mental Health Awareness Week, October 10th-14th. World Mental Health Day is today, October 10th.


Marty Whelan, Brent Pope, Sarah Carey and Elaine Crowley will be among the guest presenters on Walk in My Shoes Radio, which will broadcast live from St Patrick's University Hospital in Dublin. The aim is to highlight how simple things can be done to foster good mental health and to stress the importance of prioritising positive mental wellbeing from a young age.

With the help of children from secondary schools and fifth and sixth classes in primary schools across the country, Walk in My Shoes Radio will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the world's largest mindfulness session, in multiple locations. Schools are being invited to participate in the 30-minute lesson, which will be led by child and adolescent clinical psychologist Dr Clodagh Dowling on the morning of October 10th, via Google Hangouts.

"Our pop-up station is a small step in encouraging a dialogue about mental health that is free from stigma," said the CEO of St Patrick's Mental Health Services, Paul Gilligan.

“We believe that encouraging people to support the station, and indeed the Guinness World Record attempt, will certainly help in opening the conversation about the importance of looking after your mental health.”

More information: walkinmyshoes.ie