DCU ÓOgra Fianna Fáil helped launch the Fianna Fáil national policy document on youth mental health, a document that consists of proposals to promote positive mental health in the education system and reduce the rate of suicide among young people in Ireland.
The proposals include implementing strategies to tackle all forms of bullying, for all colleges to have their own mental health promotion plans, with a care team consisting of staff and students to oversee the plan’s implementation, and a ‘Positive Schools Flag’ similar to the Green Flag initiative.
The proposals were developed following an extensive consultation process, including a Fianna Fáil national conference on youth mental health in June. Speaking to The College View, Chairperson of the DCU branch of Ogra Fianna Fáil, Fintan Phelan said members of the branch spoke at the conference while primary schools, secondary schools and third level institutions were consulted.
The document was launched in Leinster House during Mental Health Week in DCU. Members of the DCU ÓOgra Fianna Fáil branch represented ÓOgra Fianna Fáil at the launch.
Author of the document, Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education, Averil Power said: “Up to one in four students at any given time experience psychological problems. For some the cause may be a psychiatric illness, while for others it is bullying, problems at home or difficulties coming to terms with their body image or sexual orientation. The fact that Ireland’s youth suicide rate is now the fourth highest in Europe clearly shows that we are not doing nearly enough to help our young people to cope with such problems.”
Senator Power said the proposals “are designed to greatly enhance the role that our education system plays in promoting positive mental health and equipping young people with coping skills. They also aim to ensure the availability of community-based youth mental health support services in all counties so that young people requiring specialist help can access this directly or through their schools”.
Phelan said the branch wishes get as many of the proposals implemented as possible. Copies of the document have been sent out to the relevant ministers and government TDs.
DCU ÓOgra Fianna Fáil plan to hold events to raise awareness about mental health on campus next semester.