Refusal to set up mental health helpline for exam students criticised

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Denis Naughten TD and Galway County Councillor Dr Evelyn Parsons have criticised the HSE’s “refusal to consider establishing a mental health helpline” for students sitting State exams.

Deputy Naughten said that the West Regional Health Forum recommended to the HSE that they establish a helpline for those sitting exams this month.

The Roscommon-Galway TD raised the issue with the Minister for Health, but said that the HSE has informed him that they do not believe “establishing a national student mental and emotional helpline is an effective means of providing information and support.”

Cllr Evelyn Parsons said that she is extremely concerned students 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,” she said.

“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.”