Minister for Special Education & Inclusion has strongly welcomed today's announcement of additional funding to support the mental health & wellbeing of 3rd level students. Her comments came following the allocation of €17.2M in student supports and a further €5M for mental health and wellbeing.
The student-support funding will be available to students through the Student Assistance Fund, which is available to students who may need financial assistance in paying for class materials, food, rent, utility bills, travel and childcare costs.
The additional mental health funding will be used to recruit additional student counsellors and assistant psychologists; to raise awareness of further supports and resources; and supporting the implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.
Minister Madigan said:
"The last 18 months have been exceptionally difficult for all of us - not least the tens of thousands of third-level students who could not participate in any on-campus learning until quite recently.
"This timely announcement, the day after World Mental Health Day, highlights the Government's commitment to enhance mental health services around the country and to ensure that help and support are nearby for those who need it most.
"I particularly want to welcome the allocation of over €1.41M to the Student Support Fund and €429,000 in mental health supports for University College Dublin, which is situated in my own constituency of Dublin-Rathdown.
"Minister Harris has also informed me that funding has been made available for other nearby third-level institutions, including:
Trinity College Dublin: €966,375 and €307,000
Institute of Art, Design & Technology: €149,364 and €65,000
Technological University Dublin: €2.085M and €564,000
"Today's funding comes as part of the massive €105 Government-funded package for Further & Higher Education in this country.
"In addition to this funding, the impending amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001, as a result of extensive consultation between the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, the Mental Health Commission and many other key stakeholders, will ensure parity between mental and physical health, in empowering people to make decisions about their own mental health care and in enhancing protections and safeguards for people accessing the mental health services. I look forward to its timely passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.
"As final details of Budget 2022 are finalised, I have no doubt that the Government will continue to prioritise mental health awareness and service providers, given that these are needed now more than ever.