The Covid pandemic has had scores of unforeseen problems, exacerbated by the effects of safeguarding the public, elderly and infirm. One of the biggest of these has been the mental health problems caused by isolation and breaks in socialisation. This has been particularly evident with school going children.
Many hundreds of children did not return to schools last year when they were reopened, due to mental health and anxiety problems, which experts advise were exacerbated by the pandemic. The Irish Times published figures confirming that 356 children were approved for the receipt of home tuition due to health reasons and “school phobia” during the 2020/21 school year. That total is looking like it will be similar in the current academic year. These figures only represent exceptional cases and it’s recognised that the true number of children enduring severe anxiety or school phobia runs into several thousands.
Oireachtas education committee chairman, Paul Kehoe, confirmed that the problem of school refusal is a huge issue as so may children are struggling to resettle into school. Interestingly, most of the young people have no history of behavioural problems. The most common ages involve 5-7 and 11-14 year olds. The committee has backed calls for in-school counselling, therapeutic supports as well as calming spaces and sensory rooms to help with this issue.
All early interventions to reduce anxiety issues will help ensuring this problem does not grow into a crisis.
Murray’s supply Softplay calming rooms, Sensory rooms as well as our unique Sensory Pods, all designed to meet this growing need. Look at the Sensory section on www.murrays.ie/sensory . You can call us for a FREE school site visit, where we will advise the options based on space and budget as well as providing quotations to allow you quantify the costs.