World Mental Health Day takes place on 10 October every year. For our students and staff here at UCD there are a variety of activities and supports that help us get through the weeks.
The university environment can be an exciting and invigorating one. However, it can also be stressful and isolating. Good mental health and wellbeing is a valuable support when faced with the kind of difficulties that many students in higher education encounter, such as financial concerns, workload and concurrent deadlines, pressure to perform, the isolation of research, and fluctuating living arrangements.
UCD is the largest University in Ireland, and with a 330-acre campus, Belfield can feel too big and too busy to handle. We’ve written previously on how getting involved in student activities on the campus can help you settle in, feel more comfortable, and get to know your campus and your University.
With over 70 student societies and 56 sports clubs, there are hundreds of events every month – from small tea and coffee morning and afternoons, to workshops and discussion groups, movie screenings, mixers, and much more. The UCD Student Centre is home to many of these events throughout the year (you’ll also find the UCD Cinema, UCD Sport & Fitness, and Student Health & Counselling Services in the same building!). Our website hosts a designated student events calendar to keep you up-to-date with your options for the late evenings when the library no longer seems like an option.
The Student Advisers provide support for all students throughout their university experience, particularly during their first year, in relation to personal, social or practical issues. Student Advisers are located in the six Colleges and either attached to particular programmes or to specific groups of students.
From simple requests for information to more confidential and serious matters, they will give you the time and space to talk things through.
PleaseTalk is Ireland’s student-led mental health movement, and was first launched in January 2007 in UCD. Since it began, PleaseTalk has grown to reach 27 colleges throughout Ireland already, and thanks to funding from the National Office for Suicide Prevention are hopeful that PleaseTalk will have a home on every campus throughout Ireland, and the campaign’s message will become synonymous with being at college.
PleaseTalk’s message to students is that talking is a strength, not of weakness.
The University launched the UCD Student Mental Health & Well-being Policy in late 2015. The Policy seeks to ensure that the promotion of health and wellbeing is part of the UCD student experience. UCD has also taken steps toward becoming a Health Promoting University, and the Healthy UCD plan will see a range of activities and collaborations across the University community aimed at improving peoples physical and psychological health and well-being. One of their first activities is the promotion of European Restart A Heart Day, which will see over 400 staff and students trained in basic CPR.
The UCD Youth Mental Health lab (YMH lab) was established in 2013 in the UCD School of Psychology to promote research in youth mental health, and to translate research findings into having a positive impact on the lives of young people. Their studies explore topics such as understanding risk and resilience factors related to mental health, stigma and mental health, and developing technologies to promote positive mental health.
For more info on the student supports available at UCD visit www.ucd.ie/students/support.
UCD Student Mental Health Policy: mentalhealth.ucd.ie
WHO World Mental Health Day 2016: www.who.int
HSE #LittleThings Campaign: yourmentalhealth.ie