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November 2015 Minster Launches Initiative where Students Talk Publicly about Mental Health Issues
Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch T.D., today (Tuesday, 3 November) launched a series of video clips of NUI Galway students discussing mental health issues.
Organised by NUI Galway’s Student Counselling Service with financial support from the University’s Students Project Fund, the five short video clips show students talking directly to camera about their experiences of mental health difficulties and how they overcame their problems with help from the counselling service.
The initiative sets out to get students to openly discuss their difficulties with a range of issues including depression, anxiety, procrastination and perfectionism, in a bid to reduce the stigma about these issues and also to increase awareness of the help available on campus.
Last year 1,187 students attended the University’s Student Counselling Service with the biggest presenting issue being anxiety, which in the past two years has overtaken depression as the number one student issue. The Counselling Service hopes that by showing students willing to participate in the project, it will lead the way in de-stigmatising mental health and motivate other students to seek help to overcome their difficulties.
Speaking at the launch Minister Lynch said: “21st century technology has obviously enhanced many aspects of our daily lives, and this process will inevitably continue. However, we all must be conscious that societal change does not impact negatively on our core human needs, by contributing to isolation or increased mental health pressures generally. In developing solutions to address emerging change, I very much welcome the new Student Counselling Service initiative being launched in NUI Galway today. This will ensure that no student has to face mental health issues on their own, and the initiative being rolled out today may prove beneficial for other colleges.”
Chloe Lappin, a student who has taken up the challenge to speak openly about these topics, discloses: “Each time I am given the opportunity to speak openly about my mental health challenges, my confidence increases with respect to my ability to talk openly about an issue I once kept hidden for many years. I hope my video appearance highlights the fact that if you choose to seek support, and make a commitment to addressing your challenges, change can occur and there are plenty of people around you to help make those changes possible.”
Jimmy Mc Govern, Students’ Union Welfare Officer in NUI Galway, responds: “I applaud this attitude and in my opinion any issue that affects your wellness or prevents your student experience from reaching its full potential is an issue you should address.”
Bea Gavin, Head of NUI Galway’s Student Counselling Service, also asserts: “These videos convey a powerful message of hope for students, which is that whatever challenges they face, they can be overcome. The students who took part demonstrated a deep commitment not only to caring for their own mental health, but they have also used their experiences to help others. They are role models with whom students can both identify with and be inspired by.”