North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed an allocation of over €500,000 by Government to CIT & UCC to support students’ mental health and wellbeing.
Cllr. O’Shea was speaking after Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Simon Harris, announced a national package of €5 million to support students’ wellbeing and mental health.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “This significant funding for both CIT & UCC confirmed to me today by Minister Harris, comes at a time of great urgency around student support and re-opening planning for the next academic year.”
The funding will be used to:
- Recruit additional Student Counsellors;
- Recruit additional Assistant Psychologists;
- Implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs; Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive: Ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions;
- Implementation of the soon to be published National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.
Cllr. O’Shea continued: “Mental health is probably the number one health issue for young people in Ireland today. The concerns and worries of young people around their mental health have been compounded by the isolation and uncertainly brought forward by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“For students, the college experience has been different this year from ever before. Students have had to adjust to remote learning and carried out without face to face support from their college or their peers.
“For these reasons, Minister Harris has prioritised funding to support student counselling services, key mental health interventions and the provision of a safe, respectful, supportive and positive environment in our higher education institutions.
“This important funding for CIT & UCC will really help support students as they return to college in this Covid world.”
Commenting on the announcement, Minister Harris said: “This additional support is a welcome boost to a higher education sector that enrols in the region of 55,000 new students each year. These young and not-so-young students engage in higher education at a sometimes-challenging time of change and progression in their lives. This is a sizeable proportion of our population, and while our health and community services work to support everyone, there can be environmentally specific or transitional issues that arise for both current and new students in higher education.”