Education Minister, MLA Michele McIlveen, has announced £5 million in additional funding for mental health and well-being support in schools
It has been announced today that £5 million in additional funding will be granted to support mental health and wellbeing services in schools.
The Education Minister, MLA Michele McIlveen, made the announcement and said she hoped the money for the Wellbeing Fund would enable education settings to enhance or implement new initiatives with a 'focus on adjusting to the world as impacted upon by Covid-19.'
"There is a growing body of evidence, which highlights that the adolescence and young adult years are peak periods for the first onset of mental illness," she said, "And the experience of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this situation."
"The funding will give settings flexibility to provide additional support to meet young people's needs.
"This will enable education settings to enhance existing wellbeing programmes and/or implement new and innovative wellbeing initiatives that support pupils and staff, and have a focus on adjusting to the world as impacted upon by Covid-19."
Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy has welcomed the multi-million pound funding.
Speaking following the announcement, the Foyle MLA said: "Funding announced today will assist schools in providing much needed support for pupils and promote positive mental health and well-being.
"The evidence is clear, more and more children are presenting with mental health issues and that is why we need to move beyond pilot projects and short-term investment.
"The Minister's announcement is a step in the right direction and I welcome this intervention, given the impact of the pandemic on children and young people.
"However, we need to see a more comprehensive, long-term plan from the Minister on how she intends to protect and promote the mental well being of children in our schools.
"We will continue to make the case for better mental health support for children in our schools including the recruitment of more Educational Welfare Officers and the full roll out of counselling services to primary schools.”
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