Sir, – I read with great interest the article "Twelve big ideas for the future of education" (Education, June 1st). It contained many great and worthy ideas for improving our education system in the future, including accessibility, reform, and student representation. These concepts will significantly enrich our children's lives in the future, and I applaud this.
I note that the article did not include any reference to the mental health needs of students, which have been magnified under the lens of the pandemic.
The pandemic has significantly impacted our nation’s youth. They have been separated from their peers, friends, and broader family. Furthermore, many of them have missed many of the milestones crucial to their development as people. Moreover, they have had to cope with this pandemic with very little direct mental health support. This situation has resulted in a significant increase in demand for access for children and young people to mental health services. Unfortunately, the demand for services is not now being adequately met.
The Government must commit to introducing more accessible mental health supports for our children and young people.
Our organisation, the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), has been advocating for the introduction of on-call psychotherapeutic supports for students in second-level schools for some time. These supports would help fill the gap in existing mental health support services for students.
The IACP’s conviction is that providing for the mental well-being of our children and young people should be an integral part of the education system into the future. – Yours, etc,
Chief Executive Officer,