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Jennifer Whitmore, Social Democrats spokesperson for Children, says it will be critical that sufficient mental health supports are made available as schools reopen in the coming weeks.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“There will be a lot of anxiety amongst children as they transition back into school life after being home for six months. During this period, many children have regressed, both socially and academically, by not having the daily routine of school, sports or extracurricular activities. This is despite the best effort of parents who have had to take on the dual roles of being both carers and educators.

“The fears and anxieties of children are highlighted in the latest back-to-school survey by Barnardos. While many parents and children will welcome the safe reopening of schools, it is vital that proper mental health supports are in place to deal with the additional worries that the pandemic has thrown up for our young people.

“I have previously called for child psychologists to be included on NPHET in recognition of the potential impact of Covid-19 on a child’s mental, emotional and developmental health. It will be critical that schools are equipped to deal proactively with issues as they arise and are not left scrambling for resources.”

Deputy Whitmore added: “Mental health supports for children have always been underfunded and under-resourced. There are questions as to whether the additional resources promised in the back-to-school plan will be enough, or whether they will just partially fill a gap that has been there for many years.”

July 30, 2020

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