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STRESSED pupils at a senior school in Bahrain have someone special to turn to when teenage angst becomes almost unbearable to handle on their own.
Christine Mannion became the first appointed school counsellor at St Christopher’s School and believes she is helping to make a difference during a difficult time for many young people.
The other notable coping challenge, nowadays, is social media. Its communication benefits are considered by many to be outweighed by the curse of online bullying, a scourge globally blamed for causing depression and, in worse case scenarios, even suicide. There are numerous cases of paedophile prowlers casting their net ever wider too.
“My main role is to listen to students in a non-judgmental and caring manner, assisting them in working through their problems. I try and equip students with a toolbox of skills to help them to deal with issues that they are currently facing and may face in the future.
“Having worked as a teacher for many years, I have first-hand experience of the importance of mental health and well-being and understand the importance of students knowing what to do if they experience any difficulties. During adolescence, students are trying to work out their identity and need extra support during this period.”
Students often call into the 32-year-old Irish expat’s office although some prefer to email her first. Concerned members of staff also refer pupils to her and then she sets up a convenient time to meet up.
“I have dealt with a range of issues with the most common being those relating to anxiety, family, self-esteem and stress,” she said.
Christine, a former teacher in Dubai, said that having previously worked in the region, she wanted to experience Bahrain and was drawn by the reputation of St Christopher’s and joined 18 months ago.