A loose wire shaped like a noose just says so much

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A loose wire shaped like a noose just says so much

The interchangeable men in the smart navy suits talk a great game, says Brendan O’Connor. But Irish people see beyond it


SOLUTIONS, NOT SOUNDBITES: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris during the government press conference on the cervical cancer controversy
SOLUTIONS, NOT SOUNDBITES: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris during the government press conference on the cervical cancer controversy

The term ‘safe space’ can be a bit overused these days, but if ever there was an argument for a safe space it is in young people’s mental health services. Those who work in young people’s mental health will tell you that many of the children who present to them are not presenting with a pure illness or a simple chemical imbalance or pathology. They are there because of stresses in their lives, things like bullying, abuse, family problems, and increasingly, life pressures that are exacerbated by the online world.

As Dr Mike Shooter CBE, child psychiatrist and former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, wrote in his recent book Growing Pains, while many children will need medication to solve their problems, sometimes the first step in helping these kids is to give them “the opportunity to tell their story, to someone they trust, who will listen to them with patience and respect, who will recognise that this may be the first time they have found the courage to share it with anyone”.

So here are young people for whom the world can be a maelstrom of chaos and pain. And the first thing these kids need when they seek help is a refuge from all that.

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