Brendan Smith welcomes €22m in financial and mental health and wellbeing supports for students

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed €17.2 million in student supports and €5 million to support students’ mental health and wellbeing, announced today.

The supports are being provided as part of a €105 million package for Further and Higher Education provided by Government.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “It has been an incredibly difficult 18 months for students due to the pandemic. We now have students back on campus across the country and they still need significant support – financial and other. The Student Assistance Fund is a fund that is in place for students who might be financially struggling and today, €17 million has been confirmed in support.

“Right now, we are still not sure what the long-term impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health might be. The additional €5 million also announced today, will go towards student counselling services and the roll-out of innovative mental health and wellbeing supports for students and training for staff.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “The health and wellbeing of students is paramount as they settle back into the academic year. I would like students to know that if they are experiencing mental health difficulties the supports are there. Students can text TALK to 50808 to avail of a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support. My Mind provide free counselling online in 17 different languages. provides support, information and groups for LGBTI+ young people in Ireland also.” 

The Student Assistance Fund provides financial support to full or part-time students who are experiencing financial difficulties while attending college. Students can apply for the Student Assistance Fund to help with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. 

The Student Assistance Fund is available to help with costs such as books and class materials, rent and other utility bills, food, essential travel, childcare costs, medical costs.

The mental health funding will be used to:

o   recruit additional Student Counsellors

o   recruit additional Assistant Psychologists

o   recruit Head of Service posts for those HEIs employing more than 2 FTEs

o   train HEI staff to enable them to support and refer students to appropriate services

o   raise awareness among students of mental health and wellbeing services available, including through student outreach activities;

o   support implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework

o   support implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs; Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive: Ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions