Minister for the Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris marked World Mental Health Day by delivering funding for a new student support partnership to provide 24/7 mental health support to third level students.
Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland (PCHEI) launched a partnership with Togetherall to deliver a clinically moderated, online peer-to-peer mental health community that empowers individuals to anonymously seek and provide support.
Speaking about the funding, Minister Harris said, “as students and staff returned back to college campuses last year, we made a commitment to provide the supports to assist them in whatever way we could. I am delighted to follow through on this commitment with funding for this vitally important partnership between PCHEI and Togetherall.”
“Students endured an incredibly difficult 2 years during the pandemic, with the long-term impact on their mental health potentially significant. While we have invested heavily in enhancing student counselling services, and innovative mental health and wellbeing supports for students, there is always more we can do. This partnership we are announcing will provide students with 24/7 access to mental health support, and I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this valuable initiative, which will have such a positive impact on people’s lives, a reality.”
Togetherall is designed to work with existing mental health services to provide preventative and early intervention supports.
The funding for Togetherall was granted by the HEA under the additional funding in Budget 2023 to underpin student wellbeing and mental health in HEI’s as part of the funding packages to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19.
This is a key project aimed at supporting implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.
Along with matched funding from HSE Mental Health Division this has enabled the launch of Togetherall in Ireland for the first time, available now to all publicly funded higher education institutions for this academic year, led by and delivered through PCHEI.
Henry Jones, CEO of Togetherall, said, “we are delighted that Togetherall’s online peer support can now be made available through universities across Ireland. We’ve seen how offering a choice of services and easy-access tools can help to serve a wider range of needs and a larger proportion of students, every day we see the power of people helping each other by sharing their thoughts, feelings, stories and encouragement.”
Treasa Fox, Chairperson of PCHEI added, “in Student Counselling services we’re hearing so many students talk about loneliness and isolation. The connections that Togetherall offer in their peer support communities have never been more needed. The fact that it’s anonymous and moderated by mental health professionals mean that it’s a very safe space to connect, to talk about what’s going on, to give and receive support.”