Pictured at the launch of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) More Talk, More Action€ campaign was former rugby star and mental health advocate Alan Quinlan with NCI students Sarah McCabe, Greg O'Donoghue and Laura Groves. Conor McCabe Photography.

Students encouraged to get talking about mental health

College can be fun – but it can also be stressful, so students are being encouraged to prioritise their mental wellbeing.

STUDENTS ARE BEING encouraged to talk to each other about their mental health as part of the Union of Students in Ireland’s (USI) More Talk, More Action campaign.

They had former rugby star and mental health advocate Alan Quinlan on board to help launch the campaign, which is run in partnership with Lyons Tea, See Change and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

The campaign sees thousands of Chats for Change packs being distributed across college campuses nationwide. Containing two teabags and a banner pen with tips on how to spark the conversation around mental health and contacts for support services, it encourages students to make time and space to chat about their mental health while enjoying a cuppa.

The More Talk, More Action campus tour will also roll into college campuses nationwide with a message for students to talk more about mental health and take more action for their wellbeing.

It will include interactive and educational information stands and expert advice from a range of groups, as well as one-to-one consultations by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

The More Talk More Action campus tour will visit the following locations:

  • Monday, November 11 – NCI, Dublin
  • Tuesday, November 12 – Cork IT, Cork
  • Wednesday, November 13 – NUI Maynooth, Maynooth
  • Thursday, November 14 – AIT, Athlone

Denise McCarth, USI VP for Welfare, explained to that the USI runs a mental health campaign every year.

In encouraging students to talk more, the USI wants them to prioritise their mental health, and take action. It’s not about being an expert, it’s about being there to listen and share.

“The fact of the matter is we all know college can be such a fun and exciting time, but it is such a stressful time as well,” said McCarthy. “It sometimes can be isolating.” From moving house to exams, sexuality and relationships, there can be many different pressures on students.

“We’ve seen this macho image that boys shouldn’t talk about it and girls do nothing but talk about it,” said McCarthy of the stereotypes surrounding mental health.

“We want to make sure that people are aware that mental health is part of all our stories.”

Read: Isolation and the lack of opportunities impacts on young peoples’ mental health in Donegal>

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