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Post Primary schools in Northern Ireland are being urged to complete a survey on the emotional health and wellbeing of pupils.

The survey is being carried out by researchers from Ulster University’s Institute of Mental Health Sciences in conjunction with the Department of Education, Department of Health, the Public Health Agency, and the National Children’s Bureau.

Commenting on the importance of the study, principal investigator, Professor Siobhan O’Neill said:

“There is increasing concern about the high rates of mental illness in young people and, as Ulster University’s recent report into mental health has shown, there are increased risks associated with the transgenerational transmission of trauma - trauma transferred from parents to children.

“The results of the current health and well-being survey will help shape future government priorities and policies to support the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people. To ensure that the research findings are representative and accurate it is vital that we receive responses from as many post primary schools across Northern Ireland as possible. With 10% of children and adolescents with emotional and behavioural problems*, we are keen to demonstrate the excellent support carried out by schools and hope to build upon this by identifying areas for improvement.

“It is widely recognised that a child or young person’s emotional health and wellbeing influences their cognitive development and learning as well as their physical and social health.  When required, intervention to support their social and emotional development is important to help them develop into mentally healthy and socially skilled adults.”

The deadline for survey submissions from post primary schools is Friday 25th May.

The post primary school survey is part of a wider study to inform the development of an Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework for Children and young People.

* What works in promoting social and emotional well-being and responding to mental health problems in schools? Advice for Schools and Framework Document by Professor Katherine Weare (2015)