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School attendance could play crucial role in mental health support

10 January 2022

Researchers found that children and young people with a neurodevelopmental disorder (ADHD and autism spectrum disorder), mental disorder, or who self-harm are more likely to miss school than their peers.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, looked at more than 400,000 Welsh school pupils aged seven to 16.

Lead author Professor Ann John said: ‘Absences and exclusions may provide a useful tool to identify those who require additional support.

‘Early intervention will not only reduce immediate distress and difficulties for the young person but may also interrupt poor life trajectories and improve outcomes in later life.’

But having special educational needs status reduced the likelihood of a pupil being absent or excluded (most notably for those with a neurodevelopmental or bipolar disorder).

This potentially highlights the positive impact of recognition, diagnosis and educational interventions, said the authors.

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