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Youth Council Calls for €32m Investment to Tackle Mental Health Crisis

The National Youth Council of Ireland wants to see waiting lists for Mental Health services reduced and additional guidance counsellors restored to schools.

The organisation made the statement ahead of the release of its Pre-Budget Submission, A Million Good Reasons, which outlines several ways to promote positive mental health.

James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director believes that greater investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and guidance counselling is needed to support young people with mental health difficulties.

He said: “Census 2016 indicates that our population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025. With this in mind, our Pre Budget 2018 submission recommends costed measures that will help Government to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years.”

“There have been a number of welcome initiatives to tackle mental health issues including the establishment of the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health and the publication of ‘Connecting for Life’ the National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015­-2020. However, the issue still looms large in the lives of Irish young people.

“While the overall number of people dying by suicide has declined, for example, there has been an increase among young men. And, of particular concern is the fact that the suicide rate for young people aged 15-19 here in Ireland is the fourth highest in the EU.”

In the Pre-Budget Submission the Youth Council is also calling for action in several other areas including equality for young workers, tackling youth homelessness and enhancing youth work services.

Mr Doorley said: The evidence suggests that in many schools, guidance counselling services are a vital first ‘port of call’ for some young people with concerns and problems which may impact on their mental health. To date two thirds (400 of the 600 posts) of the guidance allocation lost in 2012 will be restored by September 2017. We recommend that the balance of 200 posts should be restored in Budget 2018, this increased investment will cost €12.6m.”

The Youth Council also recommends that €20m be invested in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to increase staffing levels and reduce waiting times.

For more information, or to read the full submission visit the website by clicking here.