Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (85)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

83 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills in view of the fact that international best practice demonstrates the benefit from early intervention, when will work commence on guidelines for primary schools on mental health; if the whole-school approach will be adopted for these guidelines; the way in which unions and mental health professionals will be consulted on these guidelines; and in light of the child death review, will co-ordination between Health Service Executive child and adolescent mental health services and child welfare and protection services be mapped out in part through such guidelines. [34175/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

It is not planned at this point in time to develop Mental Health Guidelines for Primary Schools. However, my Department is acitively considering how greater coordination and linkages can be fostered between Health Service Executive, the child and adolescent mental health services and child welfare and protection services. The Health Promoting School initiative supports such collaborative linkages in primary schools. The Social, Personal and Health Education curriculum which must be implemented in all primary schools provides particular opportunities to foster the personal development, health and well-being of children to help them create and maintain supportive relationships. The SPHE curriculum provides a consistent and comprehensive whole-school approach to promoting the health and well-being of children. Through an SPHE programme children can develop a framework of values, attitudes, understanding and skills that will inform their actions and decisions in these areas of their lives both now and in the future. SPHE aims to foster self-worth and self-confidence and places a particular emphasis on developing a sense of personal responsibility for one's own behaviour and actions. Children can learn how to manage their own behaviour and to set and review personal goals within a safe and supportive environment. Such intrapersonal development will increase the child's sense of self-efficacy and help him/her to be more in control of his/her own life. The implementation of SPHE is also influenced significantly by the ethos and characteristic spirit of the school.