Search icon


03rd Sep 2021

Concerned about your child’s mental health? This principal’s words of wisdom will help

Kat O'Connor

“Never feel you are bothering the teachers”

Between the pandemic, the re-opening of schools and exam results being issued, it’s more important than ever to care for our children’s mental health.

Receiving your Leaving Cert results is one of the most overwhelming moments of your teenage years.

Some will feel elated, but there are many who will feel disappointed or upset by the results.

It’s important to remember that the results are important, but they can have an impact on your child’s mental health.

Keeping an eye on them over the coming days, especially when the CAO offers come out, is key.

An Irish principal has shared some words of wisdom for parents.

Having these conversations with your teenagers isn’t easy, but it’s a step that is so worthwhile.

However, all of the responsibility shouldn’t be placed on the parents. Schools should incorporate mental health lessons into the curriculum, an Irish principal has said.

There should be an “emphasis on positive mental health where every teacher can model positive mental health themselves and in so doing encourage the children”.

“For example, things like a three-minute breathing exercise in class and in preparation leading up to exams, to avoid anxiety.”

The SPHE programme has strands of mental health topics, but is it enough?

The principal continued: “Mental health classes need to be delivered by a teacher who has some sort of training and not just added in to fit any teachers timetable.”

“They need to have a passion and a heart for mental health.”

“I think in this day and age and especially after the pandemic, every school should have access to a wellbeing programme and a counsellor/psychotherapist,” she stressed.

Schools should introduce a time out room or meditation room for students to go to whenever they need to just take time out and breathe and feel safe.

If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, she suggested: “Listen to your children, so they feel heard.”

“Spend time with them together as a family. Don’t be afraid to talk about it and seek professional help if necessary.

“Make sure all the teachers are aware of the situation. Don’t be afraid to be specific about what’s going on.

“Approach the principal, the career guidance, pastoral/school support team or SEN coordinator or all of the above, to highlight your concerns.

“Never feel you are bothering the teachers.”

“As a parent, rely on your gut feeling about your child,” she stressed.