Students to receive 300 hours of mental health classes

The new initiative aims to tackle Ireland’s suicide problem

Students to receive 300 hours of mental health classes

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Minister for Mental Health, Helen McEntee revealed to The Sun today that she will be introducing 300 hours of mental health classes to help students "maintain their own well-being".

Ireland has the fourth highest rate of suicide among teens in the EU, with only Lithuania, Estonia and Finland experiencing higher rates.

McEntee warned that social media and celebrity culture puts pressure on young people and this needs to be addressed.

She has drawn up an action plan to begin to address these issues — including mental health classes for kids as young as six, as well as getting 24/7 care up and running as soon as possible.

Ms McEntee said: "We now have a budget of €853 million for mental health. I know there was talk that we have seen a reduction of funding, but we have not. We now have one of the biggest budgets for mental health than ever before.

"Our priority is seven days a week, which would then hopefully be 24/7. I can’t give you a month or a year, but the priority is to get our services to that stage as quickly as possible."

"We need to walk before we can run," Ms McEntee added. "There are a lot of places that already have that service but it’s not available across the country. That is the priority."