The Cabinet was expected to approve the establishment of a youth mental health task force when it met today.

The new body will aim to enhance awareness among children and young people and reduce the stigma that often surrounds mental health.

One in four people will develop a difficulty with their mental health at some stage in their lives. Yet the Programme for Government recognises that the stigma associated with mental health still exists.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee was due to today present her plan for the task force.

Using the schools system, the task force will aim to reduce the stigma around mental Illness.

It will also create awareness of the supports that are available and make them more accessible within communities for young people.

There is consensus in Government that the education system - particularly at primary and secondary level - is the key to greater awareness, cultural changes, prevention and early intervention.

If Minister McEntee's initiative is approved, members will be appointed in the coming days, with the first task force meeting expected to take place next Tuesday. 

It is understood the task force, which will be chaired by Ms McEntee, will not be given a deadline to complete its work or produce a report.

Instead it will be a continuous, evolving body with less than 20 members when it is fully up and running in September.

The Department of Education and Skills, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be involved in its operation.