The refusal of the HSE to consider establishing a mental health helpline for students sitting State exams has been criticised by Denis Naughten TD and Galway County Councillor Dr. Evelyn Parsons.
“The West Regional Health Forum had recommended to the HSE that the National Office of Mental Health and Wellbeing establish a mental health helpline for those sitting State exams this month,” stated Denis Naughten.
“I raised this issue directly with the Minister for Health and the HSE has now informed me that it believes establishing a national student mental and emotional helpline is not an effective means of providing information and support to this group of young people and that is extremely disappointing.”
Cllr. Dr Evelyn Parsons added: “At a time when students are overwhelmed and overloaded with mental health challenges, I’m extremely concerned they will have to wade through a maze of resources to try to find a service to have their needs met.
“I am strongly of the view that a properly resourced student helpline could provide a clear one-stop-shop and expedite access to supports and services. We must recognise the unique mental health challenges engendered by recurrent educational, health and social disruption through Covid, the prolonged delay in confirming the format of the Leaving Cert this year.
”While there are many excellent emotional and mental health resources, a helpline manned by trained personnel and targeted to these young people is more user-friendly. I know from previous questions I’ve put forward at the health forum that there are long waiting lists for psychology and CAMH services with key personnel not in place in some services and I’m very concerned that with their unique pressures that they may not be able to access the services they need in a timely fashion and that’s why I’ve looked for a responsive Student Helpline.”
Denis Naughten will now raise the issue in Dáil Eireann with the Taoiseach.
Supports for students are available at: www.jigsaw.ie, www.spunout.ie, www.mymind.org , through Turn2me or by texting 50808.
Here are the mental health resources for young people that the HSE support: re National Student Helpline