18 April 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on the Department of Education to work with the National Education Psychology Service to provide and promote through a publicity campaign a dedicated helpline for Leaving Cert students.
Speaking today Deputy Ó Laoghaire, Sinn Féins Education spokesperson, has said that the strain that students are under requires a dedicated support and counselling service;
“The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult for Leaving Cert students. They are currently enduring anxiety and stress that is enormous, and the first priority at this point in time needs to be the safeguarding of their welfare and mental health.”
“In my view there is a need for a helpline to support students through this time to provide dedicated counselling and support services to deal with the stresses students face.
“I am aware that some supports are available through the National Psychological Service, but in my view we need a helpline and online service that is well resourced to provide mental health and counselling supports, and also the ability to answer questions that students may have; acting as a one stop shop for queries and supports.”
“There are countless questions which must be clarified, as soon as possible. That is the main thing students need, there should be one stop shop where all students can get questions answered.”
“I am conscious of the fact the only people who truly understand what leaving cert students are going through are those who are enduring it. Those of us who have done it in the past cannot put truly put ourselves in their shoes; an experience that is already difficult, made more so by the great anxiety that exists amongst the general public given the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing”
“A dedicated and tailored approach is required. We need a helpline that is updated regularly and resourced adequately to provide clarity to students; and an online campaign and every effort must be made to inform students of its existence.”
“We need a dedicated and well resourced counselling and mental health resources, to support the welfare of students.”
“I believe this needs to be done as a matter of urgency.”