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USI Mental Health Awareness Week

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

As part of the campaign, which runs from November 9 - 13, the USI will distribute the "Free" mental health awareness pack in third level colleges nationwide. This pack was created with students in mind and takes a different approach to mental health awareness by providing students with information via a colourful presentation of postcards, stickers and bookmarks.

Copies of the 'Free' are now freely available in colleges across the country.

Nita Whelan - Counsellor, DIT

Lauren O'Connell - Student

Mental Health
At least one in four of us will suffer some form of mental health difficulty during our lifetime. Because of this, it is vitally important that we learn to look after our own mental health and that of those around us. This shocking report shows that the psychological well being of 30,000 students in Irish universities is being adversely affected by their experience of college.

Mental ill health refers to the kind of general mental health problems we can all experience in certain stressful circumstances; for example, work pressures can cause us to experience poor concentration, mood swings and sleep disturbance. Such problems are usually of temporary nature, are relative to the demands a particular situation makes on us and generally respond to support and reassurance.

All of us suffer from mental health problems at times, and such temporary problems do not necessarily lead to mental illness. However, being mentally unhealthy limits our potential as human beings and may lead to more serious problems.

Mental illness can be defined as the experiencing of severe and distressing psychological symptoms to the extent that normal functioning is seriously impaired.
Examples of such symptoms include:
. anxiety
. depressed mood
. obsessional thinking
. delusions and hallucinations

Recent Findings:
The Union of Students in Ireland has expressed deep concern about revelations that the psychological well-being of one-third of Irish students is lower than that of their average peers.

A report by University College Dublin's Geary Institute, which was compiled for the Irish Universities Association and the Higher Education Authority, has indicated that this deficit in the mental health of students is linked to financial difficulties.

There are so many things out there at the moment that can cause us stress and worry. The aim of this USI Mental Health Week is to encourage young people to look after their mental health and highlight the support services available to those who need help.

The aim of the awareness week is to reduce the stigma around mental health and let people know that it is good to talk about what is going on in their lives. The campaign motto is 'talk it out, let it out, sort it out'.

Threats to Student's Mental Health:
. One third of all University students regularly run out of money and no doubt this having a devastating effect on their mental health.
. Students often are juggling many different emotional elements of life like family, relationships, jobs, money, grades etc. which all weigh heavily and can easily lead to stress
. Students also face incredible peer pressure trying to settle into a new location and mental state