Simon Harris, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, has launched a National Framework in response to the “pressing issues” of mental health and suicide prevention.
The National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework is the first national framework to address student mental health in the country.
This program was launched on World Mental Health Day, and leverages a comprehensive financial package of €5 million to support students’ wellbeing.
Speaking about the framework, Minister Harris said: “The number one health issue for young people in Ireland today remains concerns or worries around their mental health.”
Government has previously provided additional support to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), as well as the extension of the keyword partnership with 50808 free anonymous text support service to its campuses.
This new national framework was in collaboration with students, mental health and suicide prevention specialists, academics, research and institutional staff. The aim of the framework was to effectively “address the gaps” which may exist in suicide prevention in higher education.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Allan Wall, spoke of the collaborative nature of the framework: “This will need action by institutional leaders but will also need to be done in partnership with students and frontline support staff to ensure that their voices are central to strategic planning and implementation.”
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) published a letter today to Minister Harris, sharing their “pride” in being part of this initiative and thanking the government for ongoing funding.
Socially distanced candlelit photo-shoots will be published and held outside colleges to highlight mental illnesses reported by students in the USI’s Student Mental Health Report of 2019.