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04 February 2013

IGC Press Release on publication of Mental Health Guidelines

Press Release
IGC response to new Mental Health Guidelines launched today­

The Institute welcomes the publication of the Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention entitled ‘Well-Being in Post Primary Schools and Suicide Prevention’.

We acknowledge the inter-departmental; inter agency co-ordinated approach to promoting positive mental health in schools. The guidelines do not contain anything new but rather bring together existing best practice in promoting a safe and positive environment for young people to equip them with the skills and resilience to deal with issues when they arise.
Members of the Institute working in schools have been proactive, working in collaboration with their teaching colleagues, in promoting Positive Mental Health in schools.

As one of the central school personnel in driving a whole school approach, the Guidance Counsellor plays a key role in supporting the implementation of the Health Promoting School both in providing ‘school support for all and school support for some’ as outlined in the guidelines.
The major difficulty is that the cuts to the Guidance allocation in schools have reduced the guidance counsellor’s availability to provide this vital service in schools.

Recent research has shown that one to one counselling has been reduced by 51% and the early intervention, which prevented the escalation of problems at a later stage, is now rarely available. The consequences of this that many vulnerable young people have reduced or no access to a vital support service which helped them cope with problems before they escalated to a more serious state when left unattended.
The Institute is keen to work with the various Government Departments to ensure that vital supports are provided to those most in need in a cost effective manner.

End of Statement

Gerry Flynn President IGC                               087-9958606
Elizabeth Tynan Vice-President IGC               087-6755802
Betty Mc Laughlin PRO IGC                              087-9964900