Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education Senator Robbie Gallagher has introduced new legislation which will see teachers trained in occupational first aid and mental health first aid.

The First Aid and Mental Health in Schools (Initial Teacher Training) Bill 2018 will place a requirement on all trainee teachers to complete training in occupational first aid and mental health first aid before they take up a post.

Senator Gallagher explained, “I have been meeting with teachers and education groups who have expressed concern about the lack of formal training in first aid and mental health available to them.  Mental health issues, in particular, are becoming ever more prevalent and many teachers are worried that they do not feel properly equipped to deal with children who come to them to talk.

“This Bill will introduce a mandatory requirement for trainee and new teachers to complete a prescribed level of training in occupational first aid response and also mental health first aid.  The content of the course can be determined by the Minister in consultation with teaching groups and unions.

“This legislation is about providing the best level of care to our students.  Teaching is no longer solely about educating kids, it’s more holistic than that.  It’s about providing a safe and secure environment for children and teenagers so that they can confide in their teachers if they need to.  However, we need to ensure that our teachers are fully equipped to deal with their concerns.

“The feedback so far has been extremely positive and I’m looking forward to further engagement with all the relative parties to ensure that this Bill can be progressed”.