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Charity offers pupils mental health support

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Action for Children in Northern Ireland interviewed more than 160 secondary school pupils here and found that 33% are struggling, with many experiencing problems on a regular basis (stock picture)

Action for Children in Northern Ireland interviewed more than 160 secondary school pupils here and found that 33% are struggling, with many experiencing problems on a regular basis (stock picture)

Action for Children in Northern Ireland interviewed more than 160 secondary school pupils here and found that 33% are struggling, with many experiencing problems on a regular basis (stock picture)

A children's charity has said a third of 15 to 18-year-olds that it has assessed in schools in the Londonderry and Downpatrick areas are suffering from mental health and emotional well-being issues.

Action for Children in Northern Ireland interviewed more than 160 secondary school pupils here and found that 33% are struggling, with many experiencing problems on a regular basis.

Common issues included feeling depressed, restless sleep and an inability to shake negative feelings.

The organisation offered pupils in need of support a place on its Blues Programme, which it says is a pioneering early-help scheme designed to combat depression in secondary schools.

The six-week programme is based on cognitive behavioural therapy methods.

It said that 70% of pupils who have taken part so far showed an improvement in their mental health and emotional well-being, with a specific decrease in depression.

The charity added that it had seen a 52% increase over the past three years in the number of children and young people coming to Action for Children for help with mental health issues.

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Anyone in distress can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.


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