A tenth of NI pupils have a diagosable mental illness

One in 10 pupils in Northern Ireland have a diagnosable mental illness, according to the BBC

A tenth of all school children in Northern Ireland have a diagnosable mental illness; this is according to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) which treated around 35,000 children last year.

Now, many schools are ensuring they have programmes in place to deal with the rising issue of anxiety and depression in youngsters.

For example, pupils at Carrickfergus Grammar School have developed a video that looks at some of common problems and suggests solutions to help, tackling topics such as bullying, school work stress and body image.

One year 10 pupil said: “If you feel your mental health isn’t good, then you need to talk to someone to make it better.

“I try to look after myself but I do get concerned sometimes. I just find it hard to be happy sometimes and I don’t want my friends to worry so that kind of pressure builds up,” she said.

Dr Phil Anderson is a consultant psychiatrist in Cahms with the Belfast Trust. He said: “The research shows there has been an increase in the emotional difficulties in children, a 50% increase since 2004.

“There are various reasons given for this one is social media and the rise of cyber bullying and screen time.

“Some people have said it’s as a result of rising economic inequality and, of course, academic pressures.

“There are huge pressures, financial pressures and working time pressures for families these days but the message is still it’s so important to spend that regular quality time with your child and it’s the most important investment you can make in their emotional health for the future.”

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