Child & Youth Mental Health

Click the links below for more information on each item.

[efaccordion id=”01″] [efitems title=”Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group
” text=”Kerry CYPSC has a hugely committed, busy, and productive Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group.

Their work includes:

THINK – Teenage Health in Kerry Booklet on youth mental health; Referral Guidelines to Youth Mental Health Services for GPs & Health Practitioners and the Referral Guidelines Parents Leaflet; 2 countywide Youth Mental Health & Well-Being Conferences held in Killarney in 2013 & 2014; Kerry CYPSC Critical Incidents Response Protocol; CPR – Connected, Protected & Respected: A Report on Anti-Bullying Approaches Available in Primary Schools in Kerry; Promoting inclusion & cultural diversity in counselling & mental health services in Kerry; the Killarney Schools Mental Health & Well-Being Pilot Project (Killarney MH&WB Pilot Project Report); the establishment of 2 professional Parent Infant Mental Health Networks in North & South Kerry.


[efitems title=”Who We Are
” text=”Kerry CYPSC has a hugely committed, busy, and productive Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group.

Membership of the Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group

Membership of the Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group includes representatives from statutory and community & voluntary services & supports in county Kerry including: HSE Mental Health Service; Tusla CFA; Kerry CAMHS; HSE Child, Adolescent & Family Psychology Service; National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS); Kerry Diocesan Youth Service; HSE Health Promotion; Kerry Adolescent Counselling Service(KACS); South West Counselling Centre (SWCC); Jigsaw Kerry; Kerry Institute of Guidance Counsellors; Kerry Network of FRCs; Kerry Traveller Health & CDP; Presentation Secondary, Listowel; Mercy Moyderwell NS, Tralee; National Office for Suicide Prevention.


[efitems title=”The Purpose of the Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group
” text=”Kerry CYPSC has a hugely committed, busy, and productive Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group.

The main objectives of the Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group are to ensure:

  • The mental health and well-being of children and young people in Kerry will be improved
  • All children and young people will be able to access appropriate mental health care supports and services, as and when they need them

The work of Kerry CYPSC Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group is informed by ‘Better Outcomes Brighter Futures: The national policy framework for children & young people 2014-2020’ (2014); ‘Connecting for Life Kerry: Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2017-2020’ (2017); ‘A Vision for Change’ (2006).


[efitems title=”Definition of Youth Mental Health” text=”The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines positive mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’

The Child & Youth Mental Health Working Group has adopted this as the working definition of youth mental health and well-being, for the working group.


[efitems title=”THINK – Teenage Health in Kerry” text=”In order to address youth mental health concerns and issues which affect young people and their well-being, the Youth Mental Health working group developed the THINK – Teenage Health in Kerry booklet, in 2012. The THINK Booklet is based on the successful Kinsale Youth Support Services ‘Mise My Life’ booklet.

The purpose of the THINK booklet is:

  • To provide information on youth mental health and issues which affect young people
  • To clearly identify the support services available to young people when help is needed

The topics addressed in the THINK Booklet are:

  • What is Mental Health?
  • Challenges to Mental Health
  • Depression
  • Anxiety & OCD
  • Eating Disorders
  • Relationships & Sexuality
  • Bullying & Abuse
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Psychosis
  • Self-harm & Suicide
  • Grief

The booklet recognises the wide range of mental health issues and identifies the various services and supports available. THINK stresses the importance of finding the ‘right’ help i.e. when difficulties are severe – specialist help may be required. It signposts young people and their parents, carers, and teachers to their GP, family and other health professionals and support services so as to ensure that young people access the right level of support.


The THINK booklet was developed by the health professionals on the Youth Mental working group in consultation with young people via the schools, youth-reach centres, and Kerry Comhairle na nÓg.


[efitems title=”Kerry Parent Infant Mental Health Networks
” text=”What is a Parent Infant Mental Health Network?

A Parent Infant Mental Health Network is a multidisciplinary network forum which enables front-line practitioners to incorporate infant and toddler mental health principles and knowledge, assessment, and early intervention into existing service delivery for children aged 0-3 and their parents/carers. Parent Infant Mental Health Networks build on the knowledge that good mental health begins in pregnancy and that the first years and months in a child’s life are critical as a developmental stage.

Parent Infant Mental Health Networks are multidisciplinary, educational, and supportive, and primarily use a model of reflective practice. Network groups are currently operating in Mallow & Fermoy in North Cork, Cork City, Clonmel in Co. Tipperary, the North East (with attendees drawn from Louth, Meath, Cavan, and Monaghan), and Ballymun in Dublin.

North Kerry & South Kerry PI Networks

Kerry CYPSC established 2 multi-disciplinary Parent Infant Mental Health Networks in Tralee and Killarney in 2016 which serve North Kerry and South Kerry Respectively. Initial training on parent/infant mental health, attachment, attunement, the importance of relationships in developing the architecture of the brain in early years etc was delivered by the Bessborough Centre to 64 front line practitioners in Kerry in September 2016. The networks have met monthly since March 2017 and build on the initial training through the presentation of academic papers, cases studies and opportunities for discussion as well as reflective practice.

Membership of the Kerry Parent Infant Mental Networks include practitioners from HSE Child & Family Psychology Service; Kerry CAMHS; Tusla CFA; Kerry Intervention & Disability Services; Kerry Community Parents; Kerry Family Resource Centres; HSE Public Health Nursing; HSE Speech & Language Therapy Services; and HSE Adult Mental Health Services.
Kerry Infant & Toddler MH Networks Leaflet

[efitems title=”Killarney Schools Mental Health & Well-Being Pilot Project
” text=”

This pilot project set out to support the young people of Killarney – their mental health and well-being. In 2014 the Killarney Schools Mental Health and Well-Being Project was developed in response to the impact of 16 youth tragedies, including five deaths by suicide (aged 14-19) since 2010, upon the schools and community of Killarney. The three secondary schools were challenged to cope with the impact of these tragedies upon their students and as a result, in 2014, the Kerry Children & Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC) began working with the three schools, in collaboration with a number of other agencies, to address this issue. Following the appointment of a Project Coordinator, the pilot project was established in April 2015. The Killarney Schools Mental Health & Well-Being Pilot Project Final Report was completed in August 2017.

The Framework for the project was based on a whole-school approach to mental health promotion and drew on four important pieces of legislation and policy to inform its content and approach. This included the Education Act 1998, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures (DCYA 2013), Student Support Teams in Post-Primary Schools: A Guide to Establishing a Team or Reviewing an Existing Team (NEPS 2014) and Well-being in Post-Primary Schools (DES et al. 2013). Moreover, results from the three separate pre-project questionnaires completed by students, staff, and parents provided important insight in to the areas which were necessary to address and as a result of brainstorming meetings and two facilitated sessions with all key stakeholders a clear vision of what the project could and should achieve was developed.

The project aims identified were:

  • Strengthening Links Across Schools
  • Strengthening Links with Parents and Home
  • Strengthening the Capacity of the Schools Student Support Teams to Cope with the Challenge of Providing On-going Mental Health and Well-being Supports
  • Strengthening Links with Community Services and Supports
  • Developing a School Mental Health and Well-Being Handbook

Project funding was provided by ESB Electric Aid and the Community Foundation of Ireland as well as the three participating schools.

This project was evaluated from the perspective of participating students, parents, and school staff, as well as the Pilot Project Steering Group. Both quantitative and qualitative data were used in this project evaluation, gathered from separate student, parent, staff and Steering Group online questionnaires developed specifically to evaluate the Killarney Schools Mental Health & Well-being Pilot Project.

The findings from the report clearly demonstrate that the project has been successful in meeting many of its objectives. Nevertheless, from the schools’ perspective, this is only the beginning, as they aim to introduce several more initiatives to build upon the valuable work they have completed so far and to continue to support and improve the mental health and well-being of their students.


[efitems title=”CPR – Connected Protected Respected” text=”

A report on Strategies to Prevent Bullying in Primary Schools in Kerry was completed in April 2017. Kerry Children and Young People’s Service highlighted that bullying is an area of concern for children and young people’s mental health in Kerry. As a result, as part of the CYPSC workplan for 2014-2017 this area was further researched in order to support children and young people in schools.

The objectives of the work as highlighted in the workplan were:

  • To promote interagency collaboration and coordination around anti-bullying
  • To provide information to parents regarding programmes available to address bullying in Kerry
  • To identify the anti-bullying programmes being implemented in schools and community settings in Kerry

In order to achieve these aims, an interagency subgroup within the Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health group, was established.

In 2015-2016 school year, a small sample of schools (n=35), both primary and post primary were surveyed by CYPSC in order to ascertain schools’ experiences of bullying and the anti-bullying procedures. This provided a ‘snapshot’ of what is happening in a selection of schools in Kerry. The report highlights whole-school approaches as well as some specific programmes which were identified as helpful in bullying prevention.


[efitems title=”Child & Youth Mental Health Referral Guidelines Poster for GPs & Health Practitioners” text=”The Child & Youth Mental Health Referral Guidelines Poster for GPs & Health Professionals was developed in 2012 to support clear referral pathways to youth mental health services in Kerry. The guidelines poster was updated in 2018 to reflect changes in child and youth mental health services in the county

A Parents Leaflet of the document is available online.


[efitems title=”Child & Youth Mental Health Services” text=”

Links to all relevant services & supports to be provided