Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Student Support Schemes
161. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the need to support young persons with mental health issues who no longer receive assistance from secondary school student support teams; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10759/20]
Student Support Teams play an important role in supporting the well-being of students. The Student Support Team focus is on meeting the needs of individual students and supporting systemic change to promote social and emotional competence and wellbeing. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in my Department supports the work of schools in establishing and operating School Support Teams. NEPS has a significant role to play in the promotion of well-being and mental health in schools. NEPS psychologists help to build the capacity of schools to implement best practice in relation to well-being promotion through the provision of consultation and training. Whole school approaches build a collective sense of self-efficacy within a school which in turn supports not just the child but also the teachers.
The approach taken by NEPS aims to build school and teacher capacity, and teacher’s sense of efficacy and ability to cope. Working in this way broadens the reach of the service to individual children. It is recognised that some vulnerable groups of students may require a more focused, stepped-up level of intervention and the Department of Health and HSE provide a range of services to support those students. These services include the Samaritans; Pieta House; MyMind; Turn2Me; Aware; Crisis Text Ireland; Shine; BeLongTo; LGBT Ireland; Jigsaw; Bodywhys and Childline. The YourMentalHealth.ie website provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ portal for people seeking information, supports and services, including information on accessing urgent help and a mental health text messaging support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days each week to connect people with trained volunteers.