NUI Galway to Host Youth Mental Health Webinar Series

Oct 02 2020 Posted: 15:08 IST

Free online events will challenge the various stereotypes of young people - from being ‘snowflakes’ who lack resilience, to being uncaring ‘COVID delinquents’ 

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway will host a series of Youth Mental Health lunchtime webinar events from 5-9 October, leading up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday, 10 October.

Some of the questions being addressed at the webinar events include:

  • Why do young people feel the need to meet up so much, even when this is apparently disregarding COVID-19 related public health advice?
  • Why are anxiety levels so high among Irish young people?
  • How can we effectively respond to their needs for support using online and other strategies?

Professor Gary Donohue, School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “A variety of perspectives and studies will be presented and discussed to expand our understanding of young people, their mental health, and their health service needs. Challenging the various stereotypes of young people - from being ‘snowflakes’ who lack resilience, to being uncaring ‘COVID delinquents’ - this conference will present latest evidence on psychological development and mental health. It will touch on the variety of factors that influence wellbeing, the supports necessary, as well as the challenge for mental health services in responding to those needs.”

Professor Margaret Barry, Head of the World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway will discuss the need to reframe the challenge of improving youth mental health in terms of resilience building supports that include access to skills, resources and life opportunities.

Dr Aileen O’Reilly, Research and Evaluation Manager for Jigsaw, the National Service for Youth mental health, will present data highlighting how anxiety is a normal response to uncertainty, with COVID-19 adding to the already high anxiety experienced by young people, who live in a complex world where they have already a lot to navigate through.

Professor Siobhan O’Neil, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at the University of Ulster and Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland in her talk on suicide prevention will discuss the genuine losses that young people have experienced at a critical developmental stage -loss of the life transition rituals, uncertainty and debate over the validity of their exam results, and the damage of limitations to the social and peer connections that are necessary to cope.  

Tony Bates, Founder of the Jigsaw services in Ireland will host a forum on the challenges to sense of self and mental health currently experienced by young people.

In addition to national and international experts discussing the mental health needs of young people aged from 12-25 years, a first person account of lived experiences of young people using mental health services and supports in Ireland will also be shared.

The online events each day are free and tickets are available at, search for ‘YOULEAD 1st Annual Youth Mental Health Research Lunchtime Webinar Series’.


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