One of the topics prioritised by the Joint Committee in its Work Programme was “Positive Mental Health in Schools” and it was decided to hold a public engagement to examine the matter in more detail.

The Committee wanted to establish if too much emphasis is being placed on the academic achievements of students throughout their time in the education system and not enough on self-development and coping strategies to deal with the day-to-day challenges they will inevitably face.

The Committee also wanted to establish if there was the over-reliance on teachers to identify students who are experiencing difficulties and provide adequate and appropriate levels of support to assist the student in coping with their particular problems.

From the evidence provided to the Committee, it would appear that there is a need for additional support to teachers to allow them the time and space to assist students when this is necessary. There also needs to be a change in the ethos of schools throughout the State to facilitate such assistance and promote well-being among students and teachers.

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