Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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Institute of Guidance Counsellors

Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 24, 2012

Lack of counselling time impacting on quality of support services available to students in our schools

The Institute is seriously concerned with the reduction in time allocated for one to one counselling in schools throughout the country. Recent incidents have highlighted the dangers which arise as a result of a reduction of available time in schools for counselling students who are at risk. While some schools have made huge efforts to protect the service the available evidence from around the country suggests that, on average, the amount of time available for counselling has been reduced by over fifty per cent. In some extreme cases the counselling time has been virtually wiped out.

Young people in our schools are acutely aware of the stresses and strains of Irish Society arising from unemployment, family breakdown, emigration and negative equity. The Guidance Counsellors in our schools were picking up on these stresses and assisting them in coping with the consequences on their lives and their mental health. These problems are in addition to the range of issues which Guidance Counsellors regularly assist teenagers with, ranging from bullying, bereavement, and sexual identity to family problems.

In the absence of adequate time to provide that important listening ear and the cutbacks to other support services in our schools the Institute is seriously concerned about the long term impact for the welfare of students in our care.

It makes no sense to put Guidance Counsellors back into subject teaching when their counselling skills are so urgently needed by young people in our schools and colleges of further education. The Institute are proposing an inter-departmental approach to ensure that resources are maximised to address the problems of youth mental health in a co-ordinated and effective manner.

Recent events have, yet again, highlighted the urgency which is required to address these very serious issues before society suffers more pain and suffering.

End of Statement
Gerry Flynn, President,  087-9958606
Elizabeth Tynan, Vice President 087-6755802
Betty McLaughlin PRO 087-9964900

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