Mental Health must be a priority at all levels of Government and society – Ombudsman for Children

Ombudsman for Children hosts LetItGlow for Mental Health

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, this evening (Tuesday), hosted LetItGlow, an evening of music, drama and song by young people and for young people, to celebrate the movement that is underway to promote mental health awareness.Speaking following the event held at the Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dr Muldoon said: 

“Although progress has been made in raising awareness of mental health issues, there are still young people who are afraid to speak out and who feel nobody will understand what they are going through. There are also many adults who are afraid to ask if a child is ok, in many cases because they are unsure what will happen next – what else they can offer.

“Looking beyond raising awareness, progress must be made now in providing the necessary services for the children and young people who have been brave enough to speak out. 

“There are currently major gaps and inconsistencies in the provision of services and that must be remedied. As Ombudsman for Children, I will use all of the statutory powers of my Office to hold Government to account in the provision of those services for children and young people with mental health difficulties. 

“LetItGlow for Mental Health is an opportunity for us through first-hand stories, drama, dance and song to explore what it means to be affected by mental health issues.

“The time is now to make progress on these issues. There is a need for a specific mental health strategy for children and young people, essentially, a Vision for Change for Children which will, among other things, ensure 24/7 cover for mental health services. However, we also need to ensure that support is available as soon as someone needs it so that fewer young people need to rely on the crisis services for mental health issues. The role of teachers and schools in helping children through tough times and crises has been enormous but they too need much more support to continue this great contribution.  

“I would like to commend all of the young people who performed and who told their stories tonight. They were both enlightening and inspirational.”

Paul McBride, Cycle Against Suicide CEO also spoke at the event and he commented:

“I was delighted to see so many young people here tonight, and to see representatives from a number of organisations who, like ourselves are working to raise awareness and to make a real difference in the area of mental health. We all share a common goal and at Cycle Against Suicide we want to let people know it’s OK not to feel OK and absolutely OK to ask for help. By working together, I believe that we can make progress.

“I know that talking isn’t always easy and that many people express themselves better by going for a run or a cycle, or by singing a song, writing a poem or drawing a picture. That’s why I was so delighted that tonight we had the opportunity to explore mental health through performance.”
ENDS

Contact:

Aoife Carragher
Ombudsman for Children’s Office
087 148 4173/ 01 865 6800

Notes to Editor

  • The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is an independent statutory body with an overall mandate to promote the rights and welfare of children under the age of 18 living in Ireland. 
  • Among the Ombudsman for Children’s core statutory functions is the independent and impartial investigation of complaints made by, or on behalf of, children in relation to public bodies, as well as organisations providing services on behalf of the State.