500 signatures reached
To: Conn Murray, CEO, Limerick County Council
Teach Our Teens About Their Mental Health
We demand that Limerick County Council works to implement an evidence based Mental Health Awareness Programme in all Limerick City secondary schools.
Why is this important?
Limerick City is nationally recognised as a priority area in the mental health crisis. We know the interventions that need to be taken, and are not willing to stand by anymore and listen to empty promises from politicians.
Depression is the largest cause of disability among those aged 10-24, and suicide is now one of the leading causes of death among young people in Europe. Depression is an important predisposing factor for suicide among adolescents, and this age group have high rates of suicide in Ireland.
• There were 425 deaths by suicide recorded in Ireland in 2015 (latest figures)
• Limerick has twice the national average rate of suicide.
• Limerick City also has high rates of self-harm among adolescents.
A particular period of life which can see depression emerge is adolescence. The fact that there are huge changes, both socially and mentally taking place leaves young people more vulnerable and susceptible to mental illness. Mental health issues which begin during adolescense can persist into adulthood. Over half of adults report their mental health illnesses stemming from the ages of 12-18 years.
Schools are in a unique position to promote mental health and emotional well being, to provide a health promoting environment and to identify young people experiencing emotional distress. The roll out of evidence based mental health awareness programmes in Irish schools should be undertaken as a matter of priority in order to develop mental health literacy, promote positive mental health and prevent suicide in this vulnerable group (World Health Organisation)
One school based intervention, Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM), which was a brief, universal mental health programme that was delivered in the classroom over a 4 week period was associated with a significantly lower number of subsequent suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. Its aim was to improve mental health literacy and coping skills of young people, to raise awareness of risk and protective factors associated with suicide and to enhance young people’s knowledge about mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It included role-play sessions, interactive lectures and workshops
SEYLE, an extensive European study recently undertaken, found that a universal school-based public health intervention, such as YAM can prevent one suicide attempt for every 167 students targetted, along with a wide range of other benefits, and recommends such a programme in every school. (WHO)
In one of its leading actions, Connecting for Life Midwest, under the national strategy for suicide prevention says it aims to ‘target approaches to reduce suicidal behaviour and improve mental well being among priority groups.’
The Limerick Local Economic and community Plan 2016-2021, under the action area, Health and well-being, states that it aims to ‘Promote population health and well-being and conditions in local communities to support positive mental and physical health.’
Our young people can't wait anymore! As a start, this preventative measure must be implemented in all Limerick City schools.
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