^On pointWhile some mental health conditions are said to be innate, all too often they are an understandable response to the social, environmental, and cultural conditions we live under. When children’s basic needs for safety and security are not being met, they will suffer.
When they live in poverty, in fear of major crises like the pandemic or climate change, or are being discriminated against for their sexuality, gender, or race, they do not need to be pathologised.
These so-called ‘diseases of despair’ are often not, in fact, diseases, but very rational and appropriate responses to a world in crisis too.
So yes, we badly need education and prevention programmes – like ours and others – that are deeply integrated within our education system, and recognise that every child in Ireland is entitled to a strong mental health education.
We also need to assist parents and teachers to support the children and young people in their lives, and to help them put their wellbeing at the centre of their upbringing.
And, more broadly, we need to look at the impacts of our society, our culture and our decision-making on children’s live