Press Release

Minister Lynch launches a new counselling service for students in NUIG

Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State for Mental Health, Primary Care and Social Care (Disabilities and Older People) today launched a new counselling service for students in NUIG.

She stressed that, “as Minister for Mental Health, I am delighted to launch this important new initiative which promotes positive mental health in NUIG”. The new service, which is very user friendly and flexible, has been specifically designed to reflect the demands of modern college life, and will greatly assist students to address whatever mental health pressures they may experience at particular times.

It is estimated that one in four or five of us will experience some mental health problems at some point in our lives. It is important, however, to realise that mental illness is not a personal failure, but it is an illness like any other, which can be treated. The Minister said that “this Government continues to prioritise Mental Health. Since 2012, we have put in place around €125m ring-fenced funding for new developments nationally, and I recently secured an additional €35m for 2016. We are modernizing our services towards a greater focus on community based care – including developing counselling services in conjunction with Primary Care, coupled with enhanced specialist mental health provision for both children and adults”.

The Minister added “The NUIG project not only raises awareness of mental health issues generally, but also reflects the tremendous efforts of individuals, statutory and non-statutory bodies around the country, to deliver practical solutions to assist young people with mental health difficulties”.

She continued “I stress continually that the stigma historically associated with this issue can be the most damaging factor in the life of anyone who has a mental illness.  We have made great strides over recent years to change attitudes and approaches to mental health, but we have room to improve. Similar to the outlook prevalent in NUIG, we need to encourage a culture where people in difficulty do not hesitate to seek help; to have in place an Early Intervention mechanism of delivering that help, and we need to promote otherwise at every opportunity the concepts of positive mental health and of Recovery .”

In conclusion, the Minister commended the students who participated in developing the video clips for the new NUIG project. She said that “by putting real faces on real problems, these clips will encourage many others, in similar situations, to come forward and seek help. The project should also help other colleges to develop or refine similar mental health initiatives. It should be remembered that, as was always the case, a responsible and balanced approach to college life is essential – the challenges students face may be changing but equally the positive opportunities presented within colleges, or potentially down the road from completing college, have never been greater”.