Mental Health Policy Analysis

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The number of young people experiencing mental health difficulties is on the increase. Statistics show that more than one in two young people will present with some form of mental disorder by the time they reach the age of 24 (Cannon et al. 2013). Good mental health is fundamental to the ability of young people to remain healthy and to enjoy their lives. It enables them to develop and succeed, to participate in and contribute to society. Over the past decade mental health has come to the forefront of public consciousness. The implementation of policy, such as A Vision for Change (2006) and Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures (2014), show that the State is attempting to address the needs of young people in regards to mental health (Ireland. Department…show more content…
A Vision for Change (2006), the comprehensive policy framework for Irish mental health services, repeatedly highlights that it is critical to focus collective effort on the areas of health promotion, early detection, and intervention within the youth sector (Department of Health & Children 2006). In November of 1986, the International Conference on Health Promotion produced the Ottawa Charter (p. 426), which defined health promotion ‘‘as the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.” The World Health Organisation, through their reports on Promoting Mental Health: Concepts, Emerging Evidence, Practice (2004, p. 21-24), clearly outline the principles and concepts relating to mental health promotion. These principles are echoed in A Vision For Change (2006). The policy explicates that the promotion of mental health should occur across all demographics, to enhance protective factors and decrease risk factors for increasing mental health problems. The goal of mental health promotion is the enhancement of an individual’s potential, i.e. building psychological strengths and resilience, rather than focusing on reducing disorders. A Vision for Change (2006) and the youth work sector share the core principles of participation, equity and partnership, which are fundamental to promoting…show more content…
A Vision for Change (2006) has set out recommendations with regards to child and adolescent mental health. However, it can be argued that there is a lack of progress regarding the issues young people have highlighted as priorities. The youth organisations discussed, Mind Out, NYPs, BBBS, work from a personal development youth work model. (Kiely 2009, p. 22) They are concerned with enabling young people to manage their lives and integrate into existing society. Hurley & Treacy (1993) would argue that the focus should be on consciousness raising and collective action, in an effort to bring about societal change. By implementing youth work that is focused on meeting Government priorities and prescribed outcomes, the underpinning principles of youth work (autonomy, empowerment, and a therapeutic relationship) are being forgotten (Scanlon 2011; Youth Work Act
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