Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, held the first in a series of consultations with young people on youth mental health last night, November 17,th, in Facebook HQ. This was as part of her commitment to ensuring that the voices of children and young people are at the heart of the work of the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health.
This consultation brought together a diverse group of young people aged 19 – 25 to discuss what helps and what hurts their mental health and the changes they would like to see the Taskforce to deliver.
The top things that young people identified as ‘hurting’ their mental health included stigma, stress, isolation, a lack of supports and services, and family, friends and relationships. Hobbies and activities, support structures, keeping busy and relationships were the top selected elements that ‘help’ young people’s mental health. Participants developed a whole range of ideas on what actions the Taskforce could take around these themes. A full report of these contributions will be published.
Minister Helen McEntee opened the evening by explaining the importance of communities and the duty to collectively support young people and to create an environment that protects young people, minds young people, and promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.
“I believe there is a lot we can do – each of us in our own lives and all of us working together – to ensure that every young person in Ireland is supported to build their own resilience and emotional wellbeing.”
Minister McEntee reminded everyone that the consultation is about hearing what participants think the Taskforce – a key Government priority – should be doing to support young people, to promote resilience, to create wellbeing for young people across Ireland.
“You are here to tell us your views about what Government should do to improve outcomes for young people – so the agenda today is yours to set.”
A team from both the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs ensured that appropriate safeguarding and supports (e.g. counselling, social work, follow-up) underpin this and all future engagements with children and young people.