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For this instalment of The Scrawl, we invited TY student Séamus to be our guest writer, and asked him what he would do if he were Taoiseach for the day, using the theme of our recent Child Talks event at Leinster House….
Hi, my name is Séamus, and I am just finishing my work experience in the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. I was asked what I would do if I was Taoiseach for the day.
If I was Taoiseach for the day, I would improve awareness of mental health services and make it easy and cheap to access them. I would ensure all children and young people had access to counsellors in their areas.
I would also do my best to remove stigma around visiting a counsellor. To do this I would make sure that mental health was as talked about in classes like SPHE more and that schools had easy access to resources like speakers and posters to help raise awareness of the benefits of counselling.
If I was Taoiseach for the day, I would make sure children could access counselling alone without teachers or parents accompanying them. I would make sure that counsellors were paid well for their work and that there is no or few waiting lists to access services like CAMHS.
I would make sure that teachers were trained to spot and help students struggling with anxiety and that feel under pressure because of exams. I would ensure that people knew about services like equine therapy or other similar services with animals along with other kinds of counselling rather than just talking to someone, because that does not work for everyone.
I would emphasise that mental health is just as important as physical health.