Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry John Brassil says a recent study which revealed that more than one third of college students experiencing anxiety and mental health issues underlines the importance of government funding in this area.

The Union of Students of Ireland report found that 38% of students experienced severe levels of anxiety.

Deputy Brassil said, “The findings of this report will not come as any great shock to anyone in either the health or education sectors. Third level students are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety and want to get help to manage it. However, despite the increase in students seeking help, funding for supports for these students is not matching demand.

“We need more than promises from government, we need Ministers to follow through on their commitments. Too often Ministers pay lip service to mental health service providers, without giving them the necessary funding and resources to help them maintain and improve the service.

“Appropriate and timely mental health support for third level students not only addresses their mental health issues, it also helps prevent them from dropping out of college courses. Starting college can be a difficult time for many young people – it can see them moving out of home for the first time, adjusting to new surroundings and meeting new people. It can be a very overwhelming experience.

“Students who are already attending their local mental health services can find it almost impossible to access mental health services in or near their college. Despite these challenges, funding for students supports including mental health has remained stagnant since 2013.

“This survey highlights the demand for mental health services among college students. We need the government to acknowledge the challenges facing these students and start implementing appropriate mental health plans”, Deputy Brassil concluded.