The HeadStart Fund is a three-year fund in collaboration with the Z Zurich Foundation and the HSE, designed to tackle one of Ireland’s most pressing social issues – youth mental health. This campaign aims to create one of the largest philanthropic funds in Ireland dedicated to improving youth mental health in Ireland. We want to make the HeadStart Fund even bigger, by calling on additional donors to get involved. The impact of this Fund can mean a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve youth mental health in Ireland.
The launch of this fund has been made possible by a pledge of €1.5 million from the Z Zurich Foundation, matched by a €1.5 million pledge by the HSE.
The HeadStart Fund will support organisations working with young people aged 15-24 in the Republic of Ireland and will specifically welcome innovative solutions that focus on groups hit hardest by the pandemic, such as young people, women, and those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage. To date, Rethink Ireland has reached over 95,000 people through funding social innovations within the health sector. Over 8,600 people accessed our Awardees’ mental health services in person or online in 2020 – of which 5,169 were under the age of 25.
We are calling on families, individuals and businesses who are passionate about social change and equalising access to mental health services for the youth of Ireland to get involved with our HeadStart Fund.
The current crisis of youth mental health has been well reported across the world. Prior to COVID-19, depression was widely documented in young adults in Ireland. From the Growing Up in Ireland (2019) data, over one in five young men, and one in three young women, had elevated scores on a measure of depressive symptoms. Reported statistics for depression were also gendered, with 32% female and 23% of males reporting symptoms.
According to My World data, less than half of young adults reported their mental well-being as normal, while other levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms were reported as mild (14%), moderate (21%), severe (10%) and very severe (13%) (Dooley et al, 2019).
To date, Rethink Ireland has reached over 95,000 people through funding social innovations within the health sector. Over 8,600 people accessed their awardees’ mental health services in person or online in 2020 of which 5,169 participants were under the age of 25
Health has been part of Rethink Ireland’s core focus since we began. With the support of our generous donors and the Government of Ireland, we have invested €15.5 million in health since 2016, supporting 83 innovations in this area and helping us to reach at least 95,000 people.
Our support means that more organisations can carry out vital treatment and prevention work in communities across the country. It also means that more people can develop and maintain good mental health practices and, ultimately, more lives are saved as a result of funding essential, innovative health programmes.
This campaign aims to create one of the largest philanthropic funds in Ireland dedicated to improving youth mental health in Ireland. With the support of more donors, its impact can mean a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve youth mental health in Ireland.