By Chamber Press Office, 18 July 2023
Workplace services provider Sodexo Ireland, has announced a two-year charity partnership with A Lust for Life, an award-winning Irish mental health charity for young people. An initial €30,000 in funding will support the junior and senior infants’ level of a nationwide schools’ programme developed by the charity to support mental health at the very beginning of education. Further funds will be provided over the coming two years via Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation.
The partnership reflects Sodexo’s commitment to a proactive approach in supporting mental health and early intervention for future generations of young people in Ireland. A Lust for Life’s mission is to be the solution – to shift the dial, and to create a paradigm shift in how talking about, treating and educating the next generation regarding their mental health.
David Fox, managing director, Sodexo Ireland, said “We are inspired by A Lust For Life and its vision to have a positive impact on national schools and schoolchildren in Ireland through its digital schools programme. We talk about people ‘being at their best’ and good mental health underpins this. It allows us to cope with the stresses of life, realise our abilities, to learn, work and interact with others. I am delighted to support A Lust for Life and help future generations having better skills, understanding and resilience for the challenges they face.”
A Lust for Life’s Junior and Senior Infants programme will roll out next year and will be accessible to around 142,000 children aged 5-7 years annually, which equates to 26% of the overall number of primary school students in Ireland. The free 10-week, Netflix style digital programme, includes lesson plans, class activities and mindfulness exercises. It was created by psychologists, teachers and educational specialists and through consultation with parents, teachers and children.
Niall Breslin, co-founder of A Lust for Life, is one of Ireland’s most formidable and inspiring mental health advocates and public speakers. Niall said, “We’re delighted to partner with Sodexo and the Stop Hunger Foundation which is generously supporting our work – and our mission – to change the face of mental health in Ireland for our children and young people. Investment in circuit breaking programmes like ours is what will shift the dial on the wellbeing of the next generation to come – who will have skills and tools previous generations never had to effectively manage their mental health. We’re immensely grateful.”
The World Health Organisation has stated that 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
Bernie Keogh, managing director A Lust for Life, said “Mental health difficulties in childhood and adolescence are associated with lower levels of educational attainment and poorer emotional and social functioning. School has been identified as one of the most effective settings to implement initiatives to promote positive mental health in young people and reduce psychological distress in children and adolescents which is why A Lust for Life’s strategy is focused on early intervention and prevention.
This vital funding from Sodexo and the Stop Hunger Foundation will enable us to provide young children comprehensive mental health education, emotional regulation tools and emotional literacy from the very beginning of their school journey, empowering young minds and supporting their overall wellbeing.”
Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation is now a worldwide Sodexo initiative that is active in more than 40 countries. In the UK and Ireland, the Stop Hunger Foundation is a grant giving organisation focused not just on tackling food insecurity but stretching to beyond food aid and the issues that underpin it and working with charities like A Lust for Life.