The number of pupils at primary level seeking behavioural and emotional interventions increased during the pandemic with referrals to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and other services rising by 40%.
Our members have witnessed the adverse impact of mental ill-health and poor emotional wellbeing, exacerbated by seen the lengthy waiting lists for specialist services.
The INTO is therefore calling for age-appropriate supports to be funded for all children with mental health and emotional issues, including an increase for the National Educational Psychological Service services and the reinstatement and expansion of the in-school and Early Years Therapy Support Demonstration Project.
On-site counselling in line with international best practice and a national framework to inform the development of these services should be introduced.
The INTO is calling for an initial grant of €20 per pupil for onsite counselling services at an estimated cost of €11 million per annum or €3.7 million from September to December 2023.