Press Release

Minister McEntee establishes a community-led taskforce to take action to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Ireland

Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, today announced the membership of the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health, a key priority in the first 100 days of Partnership Government. The Minister confirmed “This is a significant milestone in our work to empower and support young people to strengthen their resilience, mental health and wellbeing. To invest as much leadership and support as I can to this important work, I will chair the Taskforce myself.”

An Taoiseach welcomed the work of the Department of Health in achieving this key Programme for Government priority. “I’m delighted to see the Minister convene a strong community-led group. As a nation, we draw our strength from our communities. They are the building blocks for how we function as a society and should be at the heart of how we provide better supports to our young people, how we equip them with the skills to build their resilience and sustain their mental health and wellbeing through the normal setbacks in life. I have high expectations for the work of the Taskforce, and I know that Minister McEntee will work with members of the group to drive real change for our young people”.

Minister McEntee will chair the Taskforce, a diverse community-led group with a depth of experience across the public, private, community and voluntary sectors. The Minister has invited members who have experience and expertise of issues affecting youth mental health and have demonstrated leadership in their field with each member bringing a different perspective. Membership also balances different ages, genders and localities. This Taskforce will meet for the first time on September 6th in Dublin.

Minister McEntee will also establish a Young Persons’ Reference Group co-chaired by Niall Breslin (from Lust for Life) and Emma Farrell (previously a youth advisor to Jigsaw) in addition to an inclusive National Consultative Forum that will involve key stakeholders in testing and shaping the work of the Taskforce at key stages.

Working with the Taskforce we will invite every community to join us in leading this important issue. We will work hard to get out to the frontline and meet service providers, meet parents, meet teachers, meet community and voluntary groups, and most importantly, meet the young people in our communities to understand how we can better support them to build their own resilience and emotional wellbeing. Together with local communities, we can ensure that the voices of our young people are at the core of a more open, more engaging, more supportive national conversation about mental health and wellbeing”.


Notes to Editors

  • Further information on the National Task Force on Youth Mental Health (including the Terms of Reference)
  • Members of the Taskforce will be asked to contribute their time on a pro-bono, voluntary basis and will not receive salary or payment in relation to their role on the Taskforce.
  • The first Reference Group meeting will be scheduled early in the process and is expected to take place in September 2016.
  • The first National Consultative Forum meeting will be scheduled early in the process and is expected to take place in November 2016.

National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health (2016-2017):

  • Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People (Chair)
  • Paul Reid, Fingal County Manager (Chair alternate)
  • Dr Tony Bates, CEO Jigsaw
  • Prof Mary Cannon, RCSI
  • Rob Hennelly, GAA
  • Dr Shari McDaid, Mental Health Reform
  • Moninne Griffith, BeLonG To
  • Mary Cunningham, National Youth Council of Ireland
  • Grainia Long, ISPCC
  • Cian Power, VP for Welfare, Union of Students of Ireland
  • Ian Power, CEO
  • Jim Breen, CEO Cycle Against Suicide
  • Facebook representative
  • Representatives of the Health, Education and Children’s Services Sectors including from central government Departments and the frontline

National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health Reference Group

  • Niall Breslin, Lust for Life (Co-Chair)
  • Emma Farrell, previously a youth advisor to Jigsaw (Co-Chair)