Investment in youth mental health care should be a Government priority in the autumn budget, a leading young people’s organisation has urged.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) called for a €32 million spend on improving services for children and young adults with mental health difficulties in its costed pre-budget submission.
It is also asked for almost €50 million to be spent on halving long-term youth unemployment, €24 million to restore the full adult rate of jobseekers’ allowance for young people and €7.5 million to enhance youth work services.
The council, which represents youth organisations working with more than 380,000 young people in Ireland, placed particular significance on mental health as it launched its submission.
It called for an additional 200 school guidance counsellors to be employed and investment to address waiting lists for child and adolescent mental health services.
“Our pre-budget 2018 submission recommends costed measures that will help Government to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years,” the council’s deputy director, James Doorley, said.
He said while there had been some welcome initiatives to tackle mental health problems, the issue “still looms large in the lives of Irish young people”.
“And, of particular concern is the fact that the suicide rate for young people aged 15 to 19 here in Ireland is the fourth-highest in the EU.