The youth sector can play a “key role” in helping young people whose mental health and well-being has been damaged during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been claimed.
As youth services begin to resume over the summer months, senior civil servant Liz Canavan said that a number of programmes will offer young people “purpose and structure”.
It comes after a survey found that young adults are feeling more depressed and dissatisfied about relationships during the pandemic.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) survey reported a fall in the number of people who said their overall life satisfaction was “high”.
On Wednesday updated guidance was published for youth organisations on resuming services in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
“Youth services can resume face-to-face group work with up to four young people indoors and up to 12 young people outdoors,” Ms Canavan said.
“From phase three onwards, indoor group work will take place with up to 12 young people.
“This approach aligns with the school aged child care provision which can be indoors or outdoors for up to 12 children from phase three.
“The National Youth Council of Ireland in partnership with government has also produced online induction training for staff and volunteers to support the phased resumption of full services.
“Since the very beginning of the Covid crisis youth services have been working to maintain supports, particularly to vulnerable young people most in need.
“We are continuing to work with the sector representatives and colleagues on issues such as access to facilities, and the further contribution of the youth sector to the overall government well being initiative as it relates to young people.
“There is an opportunity for the youth sector to play a key role over the summer in terms of services and programs that offer purpose, structure, social connectedness and enhanced health and well being, as well as overall social and emotional development for young people.”
Meanwhile, Ms Canavan also said that the process to resume normal health services is under way.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, a large number health services were either cancelled, postponed or reorganised to cope with the pandemic.
“Since May 18 this process is starting to be reversed.
“Services that may have been curtailed, such as non-urgent or planned procedures, outpatient consultations, some primary care and home support services are now being reintroduced,” Ms Canavan added.
“That reintroduction is being done with the protection of staff and patients in mind.
“We can see a return to non-Covid levels of service in emergency departments and in hospitals overall.
“We want to see that return continue.
“If people have queries both their care, they can contact their parents or team or their GP for information.”