How have we supported children and young people so far?
If we want to ensure Ireland’s future success as a fair and equitable society, then we must start by taking care of our children and young people.
We have supported the development of children and young people in Ireland for a number of years through a variety of ways. These include the Infant Health and Wellbeing Development Fund which we established to ensure that the first 1000 days of a child’s life are nurturing, safe and give children the best start in life they can hope for.
"The fantastic and highly significant support will ensure that we can continue to provide a range of vital supports, programmes and activities to young people all over ireland. We will be able to continue to support over 116,000 young people and their families on a weekly basis. In particular it has enabled us to continue to build capacity across our network of 22 regional services, by providing support and training to key staff and boards on a range of issues including communications, marketing, fundraising, programme development, governance and transparency."
Youth Work Ireland
We have also supported organisations who have advocated for children’s rights for a number of years including the Child Refugee Development Project. We and our donors have also been instrumental in helping Children’s Rights Alliance start their Report Card series which evaluates the government’s progress on actions for children and identifies serious issues.
A major challenge Ireland faces is how to care for its young people. Therefore we created the Youth Participation Panel in 2015, which brings young people together to identify and decide which issues and causes to grant monies to. To date, almost €200,000 has been awarded to a number of organisations tackling issues such as mental health and youth unemployment and these include SpunOut, Limerick Youth Service, Sphere17 and Future Voices Ireland. The Bewley Trust has been a major supporter of the fund for young people.
However, we are at the foothills when it comes to support for our children and young people. With the dominance of technology and challenges around mental health and the ongoing issues of child poverty and children’s rights, there is so much more to do in this area.
Children and Young People in Ireland
Through our work with a number of agencies including the Children’s Rights Alliance, we have seen a number of key issues come to the fore when it comes to children and young people. Some startling facts include:
- Over 11% of children and young people experience consistent poverty.
- Children and young people and mental health: Recent research undertaken by ReachOut saw that: overall, only 34% of respondents reported ‘good’ or ‘very good’ personal mental health, while 62% rated their mental health as ‘average’, ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.
- In the same research, ‘Body image’ was a source of stress or difficulty for 72% of the respondents.
How can you help?
It is imperative that we put the rights of our young people at the centre of all our public services and policy decisions. Strategically tackling the area of mental health for young people is just one of the ways we can help.
One approach would be the investment of strategic funds into the online mental health services. At present, investment is concentrated on traditional approaches to service provision in communities.
Such community-based youth mental health services may address some of the barriers to help-seeking but they remain, by their nature, accessible only in particular geographical areas and are costly to staff and run.
As has been demonstrated elsewhere, particularly in Australia, investment in scalable online resources can meet a significant proportion of youth mental health needs and can provide an appropriate alternative to over-subscribed health professionals and mental health services.
Visit our Giving section to explore how you can strategically fund the rights of children and young people in Ireland. You can support this Thematic Fund immediately or leave a gift in your will. The choice is yours.