The Department of Children and Youth Affairs have today opened a national consultation with young people on mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. How’s Your Head – Young Voices during COVID-19 will hear directly from young people about what they have found hard during COVID-19, what changes in their lives they would like to retain, and what would help young people to improve their mental health and well-being over the coming summer months and beyond.
Opening the consultation today, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said, “It has always been my experience that young people are the best architects of the solutions to address the challenges in their lives. COVID-19 is impacting on young people’s lives in many ways and now my Department wants to hear directly from them about what these impacts are and what might improve their situation as we continue to live alongside COVID-19.”
The consultation, hosted on www.spunout.ie, is open to all young people between the ages of 15 and 24 and will remain open from 24 June to 3 July. A Youth Advisory Group designed and piloted the consultation questions and decided on the title; How’s Your Head – Young Voices during COVID-19.
Since the onset of COVID-19, and its related restrictions, concerns have been increasing about its impact on the mental health and well-being of young people. Research findings and reports from those in the youth sector indicate that young people are one of the groups most impacted. The consultation will help to deepen the understanding of how young people have experienced life during COVID-19. It will also provide valuable information that will influence our decision-making on how society can respond during the next period of living with COVID-19.
The findings from the consultation will be documented to inform relevant service design and delivery for young people. It will also assist Government in developing other appropriate policy responses on the issues raised by young people, supporting an informed, whole of society response to COVID-19 as relevant to the lives of young people.
A group of key stakeholders representing the National Youth Council of Ireland, health services, and research experts are working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to oversee the consultation and to ensure findings from the process are listened to and responded to in a timely and appropriate manner.