Sinn Féin education spokesperson Pat Sheehan MLA has called for the urgent development of a strategy to support the emotional health and well-being of children and young people.
Speaking after a sitting of the Education Committee the West Belfast MLA said:
”The Education Committee heard evidence from the Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhán O’Neill and her testimony made it clear that as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, we are facing a tsunami of mental health challenges among our children and young people.
”We need the Department of Education to urgently develop and take the lead on a coherent and integrated strategy across departments aimed at supporting and recovering the mental health and well-being of children and young people.
”There have been initiatives to date in terms of supporting well-being and education in the context of COVID but these have been inadequate and the funding associated with them has not been sufficient.
”If we are serious about re-building and supporting our children and young people as we emerge from this pandemic then we need to see that reflected in an adequately resourced collaborative strategy. This needs to be developed in consultation with other departments, the community and voluntary sector and informed by mental health experts.
”I intend to raise this issue directly with Minister Weir as a matter of urgency.”