Transition from Primary to Secondary Education

Developmental Milestones

This week many of our youth will hit the milestone of transition from Primary to Secondary education.

There will be quite a few changes; School size, class size, transportation, exposure to a more diverse population, inreased academic expectation and more diverse curricular content.  Within a relationship context, your teen may have been used to dealing with one key figure in the primary sector, whereas he/she will be expected to adjust to many teachers with variant teaching styles.  Secondary school may also the place in which your teen is exposed to the opposite sex and their developing pubescent awareness and interest in these particular relationships. 


  • Be as informed as possible yourself and help your teen to be as informed as he/she can be.
  • Discuss your family values around education with your teen.
  • Talk to your teen about school location, class size and transport.  For teens that are taking public transport - do a dry run and practice the walk to school from transportation drop off point ahead of time if necessary.
  • Make sure your teen is well informed of the school's policies related to punctuality, behaviour, uniforms, lunch breaks, sanctions etc.
  • Support your teen in self-organisation.  Offer assistance and guidance.  An organised student is less likely to experience stress and is developing time-management and effective coping strategies for themselves, this will benefit them well into the future. 
  • Help your teen to pick a 'go to' person for assistance or advice in school, e.g. an older sibling, relation, neighbour etc.   Inform your teen that they can also talk to a Year Head or Teacher if they need help.
  • Support your teens interest in extra-curricular activities that will allow them to develop social relationships with peers.
  • Identify avenues for greater independence for your teen at home to support their ongoing development.
  • Most importantly, keep the dialogue open and let your teen know that you have every faith in their ability to negotiate the transition.

Good luck to all our Freshers and Parents. 

Mental Health Stigma in Ireland

Deanah McCormack Counselling services, Tralee -  Mental Health Stigma.

In 2010 research was completed on behalf of See Change, the National Mental Health Partnership who aim to reduce Mental Health Stigma.   Almost one thousand adults were interviewed to get a broad picture of the prevailing attitudes in Ireland today to Mental Health.  

One in eleven people rightly responded that 25% of the population will experience mental illness over the course of their lives. 

70% of respondents acknolwedged the non-discrimnatory nature of mental illness, however 50% of these respondents if experiencing a mental health problem would not like to share this with another.  


While approximately 70% of respondents acknowledged that those with mental health illness should enjoy the same occupational priveleges as everyone else, less than half believed that this is a reality.


All of these statistics point to an underlying fear and uncertainty with regards to mental health issues and our general attitudes towards it.   Uncertaintly and fear can limit a person's self-efficacy.  


To de-stigmatize mental health illness, we must be able to relate to mental health issues in a way that is personally meaningful to all of us.  This we can achieve through education and open discussion. 


There are a number of initiatives and forums available to support and inform us in this area.  Some examples; The N.O.S.P.'s media campaign on 'Your Mental Health'   THe organization Headstrong and the See Change - Make a Ripple forum.  


What can you do locally, within your community to promote Mental Health Awareness?


Check out the following links if you would like more in depth information.




County Kerry

Deanah McCormack

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