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GHA seminar alerts teachers to issues of mental and physical health

Managing mental and physical health in schools was discussed in a seminar organised by the Gibraltar Health Authority for local senior teachers yesterday at St Bernard’s Hospital.

Dr Vijay Kumar, Director of Public Health, one of the speakers at the seminar said it was important that both teachers and health professionals were updated on medical practices.

This was the third seminar of its kind held in Gibraltar with the other two taking place in 2001 and 2007 respectively.

“We often get questions from teachers on how to manage children with medical problems such as diabetes, chicken pox allergies, epilepsy, rashes and so on,” he said.

“In terms of mental health, it appears in the form of depression, children with dysfunctional families, family issues and drug abuse, but there could be several reasons in reality.”

Sarah Payas, a Department of Education representative, said that statistics from research conducted in the UK had shown that there has been an increase in mental health issues.

“Childhood depression and self-harm are much more prevalent in the UK now,” she said.

“I am not sure about Gibraltar, but there is certainly a growing feeling in the community that there are more mental health issues than before.”

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