TEACHERS HAVE TO TRAIN AS COUNSELORS TO HELP KIDS WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

061026-N-5271J-014 Sasebo, Japan (Oct. 26, 2006) - Jennifer Tonder (right), a teacher's aide for a 3rd-4th grade multi-age class, discusses the various books available from the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) grant given to Sasebo Elementary School with a student. The RIF donated 1,000 books to the school's library. Sasebo Elementary was the first overseas school to receive the RIF grant. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Johnstone (RELEASED)

Teachers are voluntarily training as counselors to help pupils struggling with their mental health.

The author of a new report suggests that professional counselling services are needed in primary schools to deal with a surge in the number of younger children experiencing problems.

DCU researchers have found that children as young as six are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Dr Rosaleen McElvaney, who compiled the report, says teachers are ill-equipped to respond to students in distress – but says they are trying.

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