Wellbeing

Wellbeing Hub

Overview of Emotional Health and Wellbeing for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland

The Emotional Health and Wellbeing (EHWB) Framework for Children and Young People in Education promotes a Wellbeing for All approach for those working with children and young people in education. CCEA has created guidance on wellbeing to support this approach. This hub also provides teaching and learning resources and links for the different phases of education.

As well as the Wellbeing for All approach, the framework notes the importance of providing further support through health and education interventions for those children who have extra or complex wellbeing needs.

The overview below shows how different government departments and other public sector organisations in Northern Ireland support those working with children and young people to implement the framework, including services specifically designed to support the framework as well as other established services.

Department of Education

The Department of Education (DE) develops strategies and policies to support the EHWB framework for children and young people in the education system in Northern Ireland. It funds public bodies such as CCEA and the Education Authority to support the EHWB framework and sponsors external agencies to provide wellbeing support to pupils in schools and in other educational and youth settings.

DE hosts an Educational and Wellbeing Audit tool that schools can use to baseline their existing provision for wellbeing.

Working jointly with the Department of Health (DoH), DE funds a Text-a-Nurse service for young people delivered by School Nursing Teams. Other DE joint work with the DoH includes the intervention services from RISE NI.

RISE NI (Regional Integrated Support for Education in Northern Ireland) works in partnership with all mainstream pre-school (statutory nursery and PEAG funded playgroups) and primary schools (up to P4) to support children’s learning across all areas of the curriculum.

The teams are made up of professionals who are trained to understand child development including social, emotional health and wellbeing needs; speech, language and communication skills; gross and fine motor skills and sensory and visual perceptual skills.

RISE NI offers a child-centred collaborative approach that requires close working with schools, teachers and parents.

Department of Health

The Department of Health (DoH) created the Mental Health Strategy (2021–31) for Northern Ireland. It also hosts the Office of the Mental Health Champion and provides the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS).

The current Northern Ireland Mental Health Champion is Professor Siobhan O’Neill.

DoH provides wellbeing interventions for children and young people in educational services through projects such as RISE NI and Text-a-Nurse. Its most recent dedicated wellbeing service for young people is Emotional Wellbeing Teams in Schools (EWTS). EWTS works with post-primary settings to promote emotional health and wellbeing and to ensure schools are aware of appropriate pathways for support, including those within their local area, and when referrals for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) interventions are appropriate.

Education Authority Children and Young People Services

The Education Authority (EA) Children and Young People Service directorate provides a range of support for the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. These include:

  • Independent Counselling Service for Schools – post-primary pupil counselling support from contracted external agencies
  • Specialist training for education professionals and parents including Critical Incident/Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service training
  • Nurturing Approaches in School
  • EA Behaviour Support Service programmes such as:
    • Whole School Together – a six-month programme including individual sessions with staff focusing on school ethos and practice in positive behaviour management  High 5 Newsletter (primary behaviour support newsletter)
    • High 5 Friday (whole school programme connected to newsletter)
    • Training for Social Behaviour and Emotional Wellbeing (SBEW) planning (updated chapter in DE SEN resource)
    • Addressing Bullying in School
    • Parenting programme
    • Safeguarding Board Northern Ireland training – Trauma Informed Practice (Level 1)
    • Outreach to individual young people to support wellbeing.

Education Authority Youth Service

EA Youth Service support for wellbeing includes:

  • Youth Work in Schools - Youth workers deliver workshops in identified schools based on local needs, including OCN qualifications on emotional health and wellbeing issues such as Understanding Healthy Lifestyles, Improving Confidence and Self-Esteem, Exploring Relationships EA Outdoor Learning Service – offers outdoor wellbeing programmes.
  • Youth Centres and Area Youth Workers - Health and wellbeing outcomes are a key part of the delivery plan for all full time voluntary and statutory youth centres. Programmes include the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing Public Health Agency approach, drug and alcohol awareness, self-esteem and confidence, healthy relationships and understanding healthy lifestyles.

Other Education Authority Services

CCEA

CCEA has created this Wellbeing hub to provide curriculum resources and wellbeing guidance for primary, post-primary and SEN settings. It includes links to appropriate external curriculum resources.

The CCEA wellbeing hub links to resources developed through DE projects such as Relationships and Sexuality Education, Period Dignity, Financial Wellbeing and Gambling Awareness. It also provides information on mental health and wellbeing for young people taking exams.

Public Health Agency

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is responsible for providing health protection and health and social wellbeing improvement to every member of every community in Northern Ireland.

It hosts a directory of services to help improve mental health and wellbeing. It also runs the Text-a-Nurse service for young people aged 11–19 years.