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Students anxious over return to school as pandemic impacts mental health of many, survey finds

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Parents and teachers are anxious over the return to school (Danny Lawson/PA)

Parents and teachers are anxious over the return to school (Danny Lawson/PA)

PA

Parents and teachers are anxious over the return to school (Danny Lawson/PA)

Three quarters of parents and students feel the pandemic has impacted their mental health, with many anxious over the return to secondary school.

More than half of students and parents have concerns over academic issues, while almost one in three said health and well-being are a source of anxiety due to fear of contracting coronavirus at school.

More than 11,000 students, parents and guardians were surveyed for the study.

Students who responded said they felt they have lost out due to being out of school and fear falling further behind.

"I have fallen behind massively due to COVID-19 and I worry that I may struggle with finishing coursework on time as well as properly being able to understand the coursework," one student said.

A quarter of respondents said they were concerned about transitioning back into a school routine and fear it will be difficult to make new friends in an environment where you have to social distance.

Of the 75pc who said their mental health had been impacted, almost half (45pc) said the impact was mild, nearly a quarter (23pc) said the impact was moderate and 7pc said the impact was severe.

The survey was conducted online by the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union, the National Parents’ Council Post-Primary and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, supported by Unicef Ireland.

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