Funding of €17.2 million in the Student Hardship Fund and an additional €5 million for wellbeing measures will ensure that third-level students across Dún Laoghaire, and Dublin, have access to vital financial and mental health supports, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said, “I know that for many third-level students across Dún Laoghaire that I have had the opportunity to speak to, the pandemic and remote learning in particular took a toll on their mental health, and continues to in some instances. As students have now partially or fully returned to university and college campuses, we need to make sure that additional measures are in place so that students can access the support they need.
“The Government invested €5 million in mental health services and hiring extra staff last year, and Minister Simon Harris has redoubled his commitment to this issue with today’s announcement of an additional €5 million to continue the provision of student counselling services. Locally, the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology will receive over €149,000 from the Student Assistance Fund, as well as €65,000 in funding for mental health and wellbeing supports.”
The mental health funding will be used to:
- recruit additional Student Counsellors
- recruit additional Assistant Psychologists
- train HEI staff to enable them to support and refer students to appropriate services
- raise awareness among students of mental health and wellbeing services available, including through student outreach activities
- support implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework
- support implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs; Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive: Ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions
“Substantial funding for the SAF and wellbeing measures has also been provided to Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, two universities of which a large number of students locally in Dún Laoghaire attend.
“Along with mental health services, I know that the Student Assistance Fund is a vital support for many students across Dún Laoghaire. It provides financial help to third-level students who experience monetary difficulties while attending college.
“Minister Harris has confirmed €17 million in funding for the Student Hardship Fund, which will go towards helping students with costs such as books, rent and utility bills, food, travel and more.”
Speaking on the announcement of the funding, Minister Harris said, “Students have endured an incredibly difficult 18 months due to Covid-19. They are now back on campus, but they still need significant support – financial and other. Today’s funding of €22 million is a direct investment in students to ensure the support they need is in place as they transition from remote to on-campus learning.”