Belfast Telegraph

Ireland 'must act on mental health'

Ireland needs to wake up and take action to address the youth mental health crisis facing the country, it has been claimed.

National youth organisation, Spunout.ie, said there is an urgent need to invest in the younger generation if the country is to build a sustainable, inclusive and happy society.

Chief executive Manus Hanretty said spiralling unemployment and migration was affecting Ireland's young population.

"There is a lot of talk about young people being our future," he said. "However our youth are now suffering massively from the devastating economic turn-down resulting in cut backs in education, youth unemployment rates of 30%, and up to 1,000 people per week emigrating.

"There is a growing feeling of hopelessness which is leading to increasing levels of alcohol and drug abuse, anti-social behaviour, homelessness, mental health problems and suicide."

It is estimated that one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

SpunOut.ie, which reaches over 50,000 online users a month, is to mark World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise public awareness about mental health issues.

Mr Hanretty said investment in young people is diminishing while the demand for services in response to suicide, depression, self-harm, eating disorders and unemployment rises.

"As a country we have a responsibility and a vested interest in nurturing and supporting our young people to ensure they reach their full potential and live happy healthy lives," he added.

"At a time when Ireland needs the talent and energy of its young people to help transform the country there must be meaningful strategic action towards investing in young people."

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From Belfast Telegraph