Health

Sunday 31 August 2014

HSE to monitor youth site after 'threesomes' article

Minister James Reilly: HSE will vet content on Spunout.ie more strictly from now on

ARTICLES which appear on the young people's website Spunout.ie will be vetted more strictly by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in future following controversy over its views on "threesomes".

Health Minister James Reilly said the site, which is partly funded by the HSE, is reviewing the threesomes article, which was first criticised by his colleague Michelle Mulherin TD, who said it could encourage risky behaviour.

Dr Reilly, in a parliamentary reply, said that the HSE funds external organisations such as SpunOut.ie to provide health information and support services signposting for 16-to-25-year-olds on a wide range of health issues.

"These include mental health, obesity, tobacco, alcohol, suicide awareness and sexual health.

"The priority is to promote health and well-being and to empower young people to make informed health choices, to reduce demand on acute health services."

The site received €130,000 in public funding last year.

He said: "SpunOut.ie actively engages with the online community of young people to promote the health information and advice services on the site.

"In 2012, SpunOut.ie had 1,087,442 site visits, averaging 2,979 visits per day – 46pc of site visitors accessed the Health and Life section, 35pc accessed the Find Help section," he told Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae.

"SpunOut also delivered a series of awareness and action campaigns engaging young people on topics such as positive mental health, cyber-bullying and safe sex."

Dr Reilly said he had been assured by the HSE that it had requested that SpunOut review the content of its material and to ensure that systems were in place to guarantee that this process was rigorously applied to all content on the website.

"SpunOut has also been asked to provide a timeframe for all existing published site content, including the article on threesomes in question, to go through the revised content validation process.

Approval

"It should be noted that the original content of this article was not submitted to HSE for review or approval prior to publication; however this has now been reviewed and validated.

"The HSE will also strengthen reporting requirements in relation to content generation, and editorial and validation activity in relation to all health topics on the site."

SpunOut.ie also receives funding from the National Office for Health Promotion and the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Irish Independent

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