Third level mental health support needed
Enniscorthy TD, James Browne, has said the Government is failing third level students when it comes to mental health support.
He made his comment in the wake of a study that revealed a significant number of third level students were reporting mental health issues.
The report, which was commissioned by the Union of Students of Ireland (USI) and was the first mental health study of third level students, found that 38 per cent experienced extreme levels of anxiety.
Commenting on the report Deputy Browne said: 'I welcome the publication of the report which confirms what many have suspected for some time; our third level students are experiencing extreme mental health issues.'
'The psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland (PCHI) earlier this summer confirmed that record numbers of third level students are seeking help, with a sharp rise in cases of self-harm and identity issues among students,' said Deputy Browne.
He said that while students are presenting with 'increasingly complex issues' the Government funding for supports is not matching demand.
He said that in addition to giving people support to address whatever issues are affecting them it also helps people remain in college.
The transition from school to college can be very daunting for young people and this was something highlighted by Deputy Browne.
'For many students the move to college can be marked with anxiety, depression and loneliness,' he said.
'It's a major transition [and] students who are already attending their local mental health services can find it almost impossible to access mental health services in or near their college,' he added.
Despite such challenges, funding for students supports including mental health has remained stagnant since 2013 and Deputy Browne said the number of councillors per student is also 'very low' when compared to International standards.
'The Government needs to stop paying lip service to mental health services and start implementing appropriate mental health plans,' he said.