Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne has called on the Government to act as the promised mental health helpline for students has still not materialised two weeks after it was announced.
His call comes following a commitment made by the Minster for Education on the 23rd of April that he would make an announcement in a ‘couple of days’ of a dedicated helpline to support students experiencing stress and pressure.
Deputy Byrne said, “A lot of the conversation around the Leaving Cert in recent weeks has rightly focused on the mental health impact of the ongoing uncertainty. The Minister for Education clearly recognised this uncertainty when he committed to the establishment of a helpline for students dealing with stress and anxiety.
“It’s been almost two weeks since he made those comments in the Dáil and we have heard nothing more on the subject – it’s not good enough. This is a simple, practical solution which should be in place long before now.
“It is increasingly clear that the impact of the uncertainty around the Leaving Certificate has made the entire process undeliverable in a fair way. Students working from home are experiencing stress and anxiety for very valid reasons.
“Some don’t have internet access or access to equipment to study. Some have been forced to become primary care givers for sick or elderly relatives. Some are immunocompromised and do not know how they could safely take part in exams.
“Fianna Fáil have made our position on it clear, the least the minister can do is provide some answers for students,” concluded Deputy Byrne.