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October 23, 2023

Mental health support for under-fives overlooked according to report

  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for more support to prevent babies and young children developing mental health problems in later life.
  • The government has said the mental health of children and parents is paramount.
  • NHS data has shown that around 5% of two to four-year-olds struggle with anxiety, behavioural disorders and neurodevelopmental conditions including ADHD.
  • The report by the Royal College of Paediatrics suggests half of mental health conditions come to light by the age of 14, and many start to develop in the first years of life, making early action “vital”.
  • The report puts forward a number of recommendations including more research on the best ways to help young children and new specialist services across the UK for under-fives, their parents and carers.
  • Please see here for the full report.
  • For more on this story, please visit the BBC News website.

Northern Ireland: Young asylum seekers face restricted access to education

  • The Department of Education (DE) said there was no statutory duty to educate beyond 16 years of age.
  • However, other parts of the UK have education programmes for asylum seekers when compulsory education ends. Many campaigners say NI needs to follow suit.
  • Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, NI has no refugee integration strategy.
  • Older teenagers who arrive as refugees or asylum seekers, will often receive little or no education or help with language learning.
  • ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) classes are available, but there are often long waiting lists).
  • A DE spokesperson said it is “working in conjunction with DfE (Department for the Economy) to explore potential pathways into further education for such children”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Children’s Commissioner seeks urgent action to address school attendance in NI

  • The Children’s Commissioner, Chris Quinn has called for “urgent action” to combat rising school absence rates in Northern Ireland.
  • Roughly one third of all pupils were absent from class for 10% of the school year.
  • Mr Quinn said the figures released this week were “extremely concerning”.
  • Mr Quinn said, “We need to delve deeper into the data and understand the reasons behind why children are not attending school so that appropriate support can be put in place.”
  • The Children’s Commissioner is of the belief that this issue must be looked at in a holistic way.
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Telegraph’s website.