Counselling for youth mental health gets last-minute reprieve

Deputy Hildegarde Naughton and Deputy Catherine Connolly: held successful talks to save service.
Deputy Hildegarde Naughton and Deputy Catherine Connolly: held successful talks to save service.

A youth counselling service that was facing closure has received a last-minute reprieve following a meeting between public representatives and management of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The Galway counselling service of mental health charity, Youth Work Ireland, had been set to close prior to a top-level meeting that took place on Monday.

The meeting followed concerns raised by Fine Gael TD for Galway West Hildegarde Naughton about the future of the important service.

“I am delighted to report that the immediate future of this service is secure,” she said.

“Having met with the HSE and made the case for the importance of this service continuing in operation, it has agreed to fund the service for the rest of the year.

“In addition, the HSE has agreed to work with Youth Work Ireland Galway to secure more stable funding for the counselling service so that it may continue in future years,” added Deputy Naughton.

The HSE was represented at the meeting by Tony Canavan, chief officer of its Community Healthcare Organisation.

“I would like to thank Mr Canavan for the speed with which he responded to our concerns. This issue was only made known to him by me last week and he immediately agreed to my request that he meet with Youth Work Ireland and local representatives,” she said.

“My colleagues Deputies Catherine Connolly, Sean Canney, Anne Rabbitte, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh and Cllr Niamh Byrne also deserve credit for highlighting this issue both locally and nationally in recent days and attending today’s meeting,” said the Galway West TD.

She pointed out the counselling service was vital to the young people of Galway and was the only service of its kind where a doctor’s referral was not necessary.

“Any young person can walk in the door and talk through their difficulties with experienced and highly qualified counsellors.

“I was delighted that we could all work together to bring about this successful conclusion for the young people of Galway,” Deputy Naughton said.
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