Young people need to be reminded “it is ok not to feel ok” and Co Clare needs to look after its next generation, a Council meeting has heard.
Cllr Ann Norton proposed at the January meeting of Clare County Council that the local authority write to both Simon Harris and Katherine Zappone who serve as Minister for Health and Minister for Children & Youth Affairs respectively “to ensure that no young person feels alone, isolated and disconnected from others around them. County Clare needs to support our youth.”
Speaking in Áras Contae an Chláir, the Independent councillor highlighted the difficulties experienced by young people in Ireland today. “January can be one of the most dark and miserable months for anybody, I find that unfortunately around the Christmas period a lot of young people find it difficult to get through each year and we find a lot of young people taking their own lives. Now young people don’t know how to communicate, I have been doing research on this and smart phones and tablets are causing mental health problems from the age of two”.
She added, “Unfortunately in Clare we have little or no services. Unfortunately in the last couple of years I know several young people that have school issues, they have a phobia of going to school and spend maybe six to ten weeks in St Pats in Dublin, that in itself is a problem, they are going to Dublin and have no family around them. I have already brought this issue to the HSE Forum”.
Norton emphasised the importance of communicating in order to avail of any support services. “The youth are our next generation and if we don’t have young healthy people coming to our society what have we. We need to educate young people about how to express themselves. It is ok to say that you don’t feel ok and you can admit that you have a mental health issue, if you don’t open up you will not get that support.
Fine Gael’s Paul Murphy commented, “I would like to wholeheartedly support the motion, we discussed loneliness in the Chamber a few months ago and they are both intertwined”.