'Seas Suas’ Medal of Honour recipients (l-r): Ciarán Foley, Inis Oirr, Aran Islands; James McMahon, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan; Declan Proctor, Aranmore Island, Co. Donegal; Teresa Corbett, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick; Eoin Reilly, Oranmore, Co. Galway; and Niall Moran, Ballybane, Galway.
Apr 30 2015 Posted: 15:58 IST

‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative encouraging student-to-student mentoring

Thursday, 30 April, 2015: Over 70 students were awarded their ALIVE certificates for participating in ‘Seas Suas’, NUI Galway’s innovative student-to-student mentoring programme. ‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative between NUI Galway’s Student Services and Students’ Union designed to encourage students to be proactive in helping fellow students. It aims to improve the health, well-being and engagement of students, enabling them to get the most out of their time at NUI Galway.

The objective of the ‘Seas Suas’ Programme is to encourage students to be more observant of fellow students in need of help and to increase motivation to help fellow students. The programme, which is based on the Bystander Model used in the University of Arizona, aims to help students to develop skills to safely respond and expand a culture of support and care in the University’s community.

Student volunteers from a range of academic disciplines in NUI Galway completed training sessions on topics such as mental health, alcohol, sexuality and suicide prevention, and volunteers were trained about how best to safely respond to such issues. Training includes gaining knowledge about challenging issues and corresponding supports, developing strategies for effective helping, and learning skills to intervene safely or refer appropriately. After training, volunteers were encouraged to put the aims of ‘Seas Suas’ into action in a variety of ways.

Volunteers are currently contributing to a number of specific events such as the Green Ribbon Campaign promoting mental health, helping with the Exam Support Team and preparing for Student Orientation Week in September 2015. The ‘Seas Suas’ Programme has successfully developed sustainable partnerships between students, staff and external agencies.

Father Ben Hughes, Dean of Chaplaincy Services and ‘Seas Suas’ Project Leader at NUI Galway, said: “It is really encouraging to work with generous young people who are willing to learn new skills so that they can successfully negotiate challenges and help each other manage life more effectively.”

The Award Ceremony was also the occasion to recognise six courageous students who received ‘Seas Suas’ Medals of Honour for heroic acts of intervention. These six have demonstrated the value of human kindness and proactive concern for other reflecting the ethos of Vision 2020, NUI Galway’s Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2020.

For more information on the Seas Suas programme contact Fr Ben Hughes, NUI Galway’s Chaplaincy Services at chaplains@nuigalway.ie or 091 49 5055.

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