Today a newly established Youth Advisory Group met for the first time with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to design a national consultation with young people on health and well-being as we learn to live with COVID-19.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and its related restrictions, concerns have been increasing about the impact on the mental health and well-being of young people. Research findings and reports from those in the youth sector indicate that young people are one of the groups most impacted.

Welcoming the establishment of the group, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said:

“One of the most important jobs of my Department is to ensure that children and young people’s opinions are brought into decision making. Given what we know about the impact of the recent months on young people, it is now timely that we stop, listen and reflect on what young people themselves have to say about their experiences and what measures could improve or support them as we move forward.”

The work of the Youth Advisory Group will lead to a national on-line consultation with young people which will be hosted on later in June. The consultation will assist in a deepened understanding of how young people are experiencing COVID-19. It will elicit the views of young people on what is working well for them, what is more challenging in maintaining their well-being and what would/could be useful to them to improve their mental health and well-being over the coming summer months and beyond.

The findings from the consultation will be documented to inform relevant service design and delivery for young people. It will also assist Government in developing other appropriate policy responses on the issues raised by young people leading to a more informed whole of society response to COVID-19 as relevant to the lives of young people.

Members of the Youth Advisory Group come from across the country, range in age between 15 – 24 years and are nominated through a range of youth groups and organisations including Comhairle na nÓg, Foroige, Youth Work Ireland, and the National Youth Council of Ireland.

A group of key stakeholders representing health services, youth services and research experts are also working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to oversee the consultation and to ensure findings from the process are listened to and responded to in a timely and appropriate manner.

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