Secondary school students say they’re ‘happy overall’ but 1 in 5 have experienced cyberbullying

Nearly 90% of our secondary school students are happy overall, however, one in five has experienced cyberbullying.

A study has found 86% of students surveyed were “generally happy overall.” Almost half of students (47%) reported being happy “most of the time”.

Male students recorded being happier than their female counterparts.

At 49%, males said they were happy most of the time, whereas this figure stood at 32% for female secondary school students.

Amárach Research carried out the study for the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), the body representing secondary school principals.

The research surveyed 319 students from across Ireland, and in a variety of socioeconomic settings.

Students reported far higher levels of happiness compared to the rest of society. However, while the general happiness indicator was high, cyberbullying and mental health also featured strongly in the study.

One in five students said they had experienced cyberbullying and 10% reported being “occasionally or rarely happy”.

Furthermore, 38% of our secondary school students reported being aware of their peers experiencing mental health challenges.

Another finding showed that our teenagers will seek out the help of someone they have an intimate relationship with, as opposed to an independent healthcare professional when going through difficult emotions.

In terms of resources in our secondary schools to deal with mental health issues, it showed that students did not feel supported in this area.

Over half (58%) of students said they did not believe that there were “sufficient” enough supports in schools to deal with mental health challenges.

In relation to teachers, the study found that 61% of them were providing additional support or dedicated classes to assist their students in facing mental health issues.

Minister for Mental Health Helen McEntee said the survey findings were significant.

“It represents an important snapshot into the mental health and wellbeing of our students, while also highlighting the areas where we must do more, such as continuing to tackle cyberbullying,” Ms McEntee said.

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