Newly formed youth mental health taskforce to meet for first time in September

Helen McEntee

The newly formed national taskforce on youth mental health will meet for the first time on September 6.

Helen McEntee, the junior minister with responsibility for mental health, last night announced the make-up of the taskforce.

She will act as chair and will be joined by a range of members drawn from a broad range of backgrounds including health, political, sporting, children, and mental health, charity and support sectors.

The department said the minister had invited members who had experience and expertise of issues affecting youth mental health and had demonstrated leadership in their field with each member bringing a different perspective. “Membership also balances different ages, genders, and localities,” it said.

The department said members of the taskforce will be asked to contribute their time on a pro-bono, voluntary basis and will not receive salary or payment.

The minister is also to establish a Young Persons’ Reference Group which will be co-chaired by singer Niall Breslin of a Lust for Life and Emma Farrell, who was previously a youth advisor to the Jigsaw youth mental health charity, 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,” the minister said. “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.”

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