Sometimes it’s numbers rather than words that tell a story best. Parents across Ireland will have shuddered at research findings from the Royal College of Surgeons in 2013 which found that more than 50% of Irish young people will have suffered a significant mental health problem by the age of 24 .
The calls to ISPCC Childline bear this out- children contact us for a wide range of reasons, but recently calls are more complex, as children attempt to cope with an increasingly complicated reality. For parents and carers, this is deeply worrying. But thankfully many parents now know to ask for help. Paul Gilligan’s latest book ‘Raising Emotionally Healthy Children’ is a truthful account of the steps parents can take.
In Chapter Two, ‘Teaching our Children How to be Happy’, Paul is clear that teaching children to be happy does not mean they will be happy all the time. This message is crucial- that happiness is not a state of being rather a state of mind. This honesty from the author makes the book special- it recognises the importance of happiness, and that the ability to be happy gives us the capacity to cope with problems when they arise. These are simply but potent lessons for anyone raising a child. But they have resonance for policy makers and for wider society- which is why I hope this book is on the reading list of decision makers across Ireland.
Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children