This is the "Foreword" of the Department of  Education and Skills document "Well Being in Primary Schools" we are delighted to have this framework in place as our "Buddy Bench Aware" programme sure does compliment it. This is an interesting read for anyone because the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm – is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.The ‘duty of care’ needs to be at the forefront of those adults’ minds, who are working with children.

Read more: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/Well-Being-in-Primary-Schools-Guidelines-for-Mental-Health-Promotion.pdf

We are pleased to jointly publish these Guidelines, which will provide practical guidance on how primary schools can promote mental health and well-being. We know that the mental health and well-being of our children is critical to success in school and life. Education about mental health and well-being is an integral part of the school curriculum. Schools play a vital role in the promotion of positive mental health in children. Schools can also provide a safe and supportive environment for building life skills and resilience and a strong sense of connectedness to school. Listening to the voice of the child and fostering healthy relationships with peers, teachers and school staff are essential to children’s positive experience of school and their cognitive and emotional development. The needs and well-being of school staff are also of paramount importance. The key to successful implementation of these Guidelines lies in taking a coordinated whole-school approach. This involves building and integrating school self-evaluation processes, implementing all elements of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum, adopting the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) Continuum of Support, and building effective inter-agency relationships. The whole-school implementation of the SPHE curriculum framework at classroom and whole-school levels supports the effective delivery of mental health and well-being education. Positive mental health is further reinforced through the strong working partnerships fostered between the Department of Education and Skills (DES), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Links between the education and health sectors may be further strengthened through the development of the health promoting school model to support a whole-school approach to mental health promotion and well-being. Identifying and supporting children who may be vulnerable or at risk are key to successful mental health promotion and suicide prevention. These Guidelines provide a practical framework for supporting schools in this challenging area and also build on the significant work currently undertaken in schools. Mental health promotion and the provision of supports for vulnerable students depend on ongoing cooperation between schools and the range of available services and agencies from the education, health and community sectors. We hope that these Guidelines will be of assistance to schools and the school community in supporting and responding to the mental health and well- being needs of our children. Finally, we would like to thank all those who contributed to the production of these Guidelines.

 Jan O’Sullivan,   TD                                                                               Kathleen Lynch, TD 
Minister for Education and Skills                                                             Minister for Mental Health


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