Mental Health and Wellbeing 

NEW: NUIG 50808 - Crisis textline

NUIG 50808 is a free and confidential 24/7 text response service available to any NUI Galway student or staff member experiencing a crisis of any kind such as relationships, loneliness, job loss, money, assault, high anxiety or low mood.

By texting 'NUIG' to 50808 you will receive a reply within 5 minutes from a highly trained and motivated volunteer who will provide a warm listening ear and signposting to local supports and services. So if you experience a crisis of any kind at any time of the day or night, there is no need to suffer in silence, immediate support is available by texting 'NUIG' to 50808. Your family and friends can also avail of this service by texting ‘Hello’ to 50808.

I am feeling very stressed and anxious, can I still get counselling?

Yes, following the closure of our on-campus service we have moved our counselling services online. Simply email your request to counselling@nuigalway.ie.

NUI Galway Student Counselling & Wellbeing is continuing to provide on-going online and/or telephone counselling to existing clients AND new referrals. Online or phone sessions are for the usual 50 minutes in order to assist students in maintaining healthy emotional wellbeing while face-to-face counselling appointments are not possible due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The online counselling service is available to all registered students free of charge. We offer up to 4 sessions following an initial assessment. Please be aware that you may incur additional charges if using MS Teams on your phone. Please contact us by email at counselling@nuigalway.ie for further details during our normal office hours of Monday to Friday 9am-1pm and 2-5pm.  Click here for more information. 

 

Online/tele counselling doesn’t suit me at present, what online mental health supports are available?

Apart from online or telephone counselling, the Student Counselling & Wellbeing also provide three online mental health supports:
Participate, SilverCloud and Centre for Clinical Interventions. Below you will find out more information on these.

I have had to go into Self-Isolation, and I feel overwhelmed – are there any resources that can help me?

This is a very overwhelming time for everyone, and we have been working on developing resources that can help you out while social distancing or in self-isolation www.nuigalway.ie/alert/studentfaqs/self-isolationfaqs

We have lots of tips for those who are self-isolating on our FAQ page. Why not also check out www.nuigstudents.ie  page for ideas on how to keep yourself connected and entertained during this time. 

Mindful Shared Practice: Take a look at NUI Galway's Mindful Way initiative as well, this is a FREE online mindful shared practice session every Tuesday and Friday morning with Dr Eva Flynn from 8:15am-8:45am (for everyone) and from 3:00pm - 3:30pm (for students).  The link to join is as follows, and can only be opened using Google ChromeLINK.  You can sign up here to the mailing list to stay up to date on sessions.

The lack of control I'm experiencing at the moment is overwhelming and I'm worried about my mental health?  Are there any services available to contact outside of NUI Galway and working hours?

Yes, there are many resources available outside of the university, that you can contact regarding if you’re worried about your mental health. These services are also available outside of working hours. Please see below. 

  • If you consider yourself to be at risk of self-harm contact your GP or nearest Accident & Emergency Unit.
  • If you were hoping to speak to someone immediately contact:  Samaritans 116 123 (24 hour freephone), Pieta House 1800 247 247 (24 hour freephone), Aware 1800 804 848 (10am-10pm freephone)
  • 24/7 Crisis Text Line: NUIG to 50808

Centre for Clinical Interventions: A suite of self-help tools and workbooks on topics such as assertiveness, depression, panic, disordered eating, procrastination, perfectionism and more. www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself

Department of Education Supports: www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Announcements/information-for-schools-preschools-and-third-level-institutions-on-the-coronavirus.html#15

I am really bored right now, have you any suggestions of things I can do?

Firstly, we hear you! Secondly, luckily for you we have some suggestions! There is lots of services and resources that have been made available for free during the outbreak of COVID-19. Have you thought about learning a new language, trying out a new recipe or taking part in a virtual gym class, the opportunities are limitless and now is the time to try something you’ve always wanted to do! Check out some courses, online services, educational resources and new hobby ideas! Find new ways to fill your spare time https://covid19.shanehastings.eu/giveback/

Why not also look at www.nuigstudents.ie which has plenty of information on how to stay connected and find things to do during isolation! The useful pages are linked below:

Any advice on how to deal with all of the negative news and media?

Being mindful of how we are feeling at this time is important. Noticing these feelings can help us to address them. If we are consuming too much information on the current outbreak is causing increased stress, step back and reduce/limit the time spent reading/listening to this information. Actively include digital disconnection time in your day. Be mindful of where you source your information from also; only use reputable sources such as www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html or www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

Mindful Shared Practice: Take a look at NUI Galway's Mindful Way initiative as well, this is a FREE online mindful shared practice session every Tuesday and Friday morning with Dr Eva Flynn from 8:15am-8:45am (for everyone) and from 3:00pm - 3:30pm (for students). The link to join is as follows, and can only be opened using Google Chrome: LINK.  You can sign up here to the mailing list to stay up to date on sessions.

Chaplaincy: Is the chapel / chaplaincy unit open at the moment?


The Chaplaincy Service is available to support students and staff remotely during normal working hours and outside of working hours, when required. We can be contacted as follows:

Fr Ben Hughes, Chaplain
E: ben.hughes@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 86 203 7538

Jimmy McGovern, Seas Suas Manager
E: jimmy.mcgovern@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 83 062 6898

Chaplaincy Exam Stress Helpline

Operating August 10th - August 21st (9:00am - 7:00pm)
E: examstress@nuigalway.ie
T: 091 49 7999 

WELLBEING: What can I do if I feel socially isolated?

These are unprecedented times and it comes as no surprise that you may feel a sense of isolation, you might be missing your friends and your social life in college. The NUI Galway Societies Office is currently providing support and resources to help you maintain your well-being and sense of connectedness to your friends, NUI Galway and the wider world.

If you have a great idea and would like to share it with other students, let us know and we will be here to support you. You can email the Socsbox at socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie with questions relating to online social opportunities, ideas for online social interaction or about societies. Aisling is available to give you tips on how to maintain your health and well-being during this time, send her an email at thehub@socs.nuigalway.ie for more information.

You can interact with us across all the social media platforms:

Student calendar 

Will be updated with student events you can access from home.

We have been sending out the weekly ‘‘What's Happening Guide’’ and will continue to do so,  you can sign up below to get your weekly newsletter straight to your student email inbox. https://socs.nuigalway.ie/whatshappeningguide.php

Check out our website for up-to-date info, tips and resources, daily polls, videos, game ideas, and comment sections.  We are here for you so, please do get in touch.

www.nuigstudents.ie

Please take this anonymous questionnaire to let us know what your concerns are and also to share your tips and advice on what works for you, to help us to help you and other students.

NUI Galway life in isolation Questionnaire

Tips to help look after your health and wellbeing at this time

It is important for students and staff to look after their own wellbeing at this time. Based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing which was advised by Mental Health Ireland, NUI Galway has put together a short flyer of tips and advice:

Maybe print it out and display it somewhere as a reminder of how we should keep ourselves mentally well during this period.

Student Health Unit

Is the Student Health Unit open to students?

Yes, the Student Health Unit does still continue to operate, albeit in a very different manner to what students would have been previously familiar with. The changes in how our service now operates are in line with Public Health advice and guidance, and are necessary in order for us to reduce the risk of any potential COVID-19 virus transmission among all our students and staff.

Key changes to our service:

There is NO LONGER ANY 'WALK-IN' SERVICE!

Students CAN NO LONGER ATTEND OR ENTER THE STUDENT HEALTH UNIT FACILITY WITHOUT FIRST CONTACTING THE PRACTICE BY PHONE. This is required in order for us to be able to ensure that optimal infection prevention and control measures can be maintained at all times.

Therefore, for the foreseeable future, the Student Health Unit will continue to operate on a very strict 'BY PRIOR APPOINTMENT ONLY' basis.

How do I contact the Student Health Unit service?

If you need to contact the Student Health Unit to arrange an appointment, repeat prescription, or for any other health queries, then please phone us at: 091-492604

Please bear in mind that our phone lines can be extremely busy, and we greatly appreciate your patience in this regard. If you are still unable to get through by telephone, despite repeated attempts, then please email us at: healthunit@nuigalway.ie

What are the opening hours for contacting the Student Health Unit service?

The Student Health Unit team and service are available Monday to Friday (excluding Public/Bank Holidays), during 9.30am – 12.30pm and from 2.30pm – 4.30pm.

It is not open on public holidays or at weekends. There are out-of-hours services available (as below), but these are to be reserved solely for use for very urgent or emergency medical issues, and are not to be used as advice helplines for any routine or non-urgent issues.

If you are acutely ill, please contact the Student Health Unit as early as possible in the day. If the Student Health Unit is booked up for the day, but you are severely unwell and feel that you need to be seen, then please make this known to our Reception staff or Triage Nurse.

Can I still get an appointment to see a Student Health Unit doctor/nurse for a face-to-face consultation?

In line with Public Health advice on reducing the risk of spread of Covid-19, the Student Health Unit is endeavouring, where at all possible, to provide remote/telephone consultations for any health advice/support or prescriptions. For a certain number of health complaints/conditions, which cannot be managed by remote consultation (e.g. Blood tests, STI screening, Vaccinations, etc.), we are able to provide access to face-to-face consultations for these kinds of services/issues, but under strict infection prevention and control protocols.

Our current appointment system involves our Triage Nurses providing an initial assessment via telephone consultation, with subsequent arrangement then, as deemed clinically necessary, of either: an appointment for face-to-face consultation with a Nurse; or, referral on to one of our Doctors.

If our Triage Nurse refers you on to one of our Doctors, the Doctor will then first carry out a remote telephone consultation, and if clinically required, will arrange an appointment for a face-to-face consultation.

As part of our infection prevention and control measures:

FACE-TO-FACE CONSULTATIONS WILL OPERATE TO A STRICT 15-MINUTE TIME LIMIT.

While all students attending for face-to-face consultations:

  • MUST WEAR A MASK/FACE COVERING
  • MUST SANITISE THEIR HANDS ON ENTERING THE STUDENT HEALTH UNIT

If you are acutely ill, please contact the Student Health Unit as early as possible in the day. If the Student Health Unit is booked up for the day, but you are severely unwell and need to be seen, please make this known to our reception staff.

I’m not currently in Galway, and am at home in a different part of the Republic of Ireland (OR outside the Republic of Ireland), can I still access the Student Health Unit service for a prescription/advice?

For most kinds of prescriptions/medication requests, and for a certain number of health issues/queries which can be managed remotely via telephone, the Student Health Unit Doctors/Nurses can still provide a prescription/support/advice to any NUI Galway students who are currently based away from Galway, in a different part of the Republic of Ireland.

Thanks to emergency legislation that was passed in recent months by the Minister for Health, Doctors can now send prescriptions electronically, directly to Pharmacies anywhere in the Republic of Ireland, via a highly secure, health services’ email network called Healthmail.

Due to restrictions relating to Medical/Nursing indemnity (insurance) cover and the jurisdictional boundaries of Medical/Nursing registration, the Student Health Unit team cannot under any circumstance provide healthcare support/advice or prescriptions to any students if they are currently residing outside of the Republic of Ireland.

What kind of services/appointments does the Student Health Unit provide?

The Student Health Unit provides a totally confidential, GP-type service, though it is not intended to function as a replacement for your GP. In general, the service/appointments which are provided include, but are not limited to:

  • GP-type service - Acute illness care/treatment. (Not intended as a replacement for your GP, you are advised to remain linked in with your GP for ongoing medical conditions)
  • Family Planning/Contraception, Emergency Contraception, STI Clinics, Implanon Insertion/Removal
  • Mental Health support/treatment
  • Appointments available for Travel Advice and Vaccinations; Blood Tests; Dressings & Stitches removal; Eyesight Reports (for driving licences); Wart/Verruca Treatments; Drug Screening.
  • Hospital/Consultant/Psychiatric Referral service

Consultations with the Doctors/Nurses are usually free, but there are nominal charges for some of the services that are provided. Full details of our fee-paying services are available to view at: www.nuigalway.ie/health_unit/services-&-fees/

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of Covid-19/Coronavirus to appear. They can be similar to those of a regular cold/flu. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever (High temperature, of 38C or above)
  • Cough (this can be any kind of cough, not just dry)
  • Shortness of Breath/Breathing difficulties
  • Loss or change in your sense of Smell or Taste (i.e. that you’ve noticed you cannot smell/taste anything, or things smell/taste different to normal)

I’m worried that I have COVID-19, what do I do?

Firstly, take immediate steps to undertake strict self-isolation. There is very clear information and advice on exactly how you should do this, via the HSE’s website at: www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/self-isolation-and-limited-social-interaction.html

Then contact your own GP or the Student Health Unit to discuss your symptoms with a Doctor, to determine whether you require referral for formal Covid-19 testing and/or any further assessment.

For most people, particularly younger patients, Covid-19 produces a mild or moderately severe illness, which can be managed at home with simple supportive measures. For advice on how to manage your symptoms, please check out www.undertheweather.ie or check out the self-care advice contained in the ‘Student Health Matters’ App, which can be downloaded for FREE from both the App Store or Google Play. At this current time, if you have symptoms/suspect that you have Covid-19, it is vital that you would not attend your GP practice, the Student Health Unit or any other healthcare facility without first contacting them by telephone.

Is there an urgent care Out-of-Hours service available linked to the Student Health Unit?

For Urgent/Emergency Out-of-Hours Service (Please note that these are NOT advice lines, and are for urgent/emergency medical care, and also, that there is a charge for these out-of-hours services) 

  • Mon-Thurs (after 5pm) – Contact Emergency Number: 087-2623997
  • Sat, Sun & Bank Holidays (Daytime 9am-5pm) – Citydoc, Bon Secours Hospital: 091-758008
  • Fri, Sat, Sun & Bank Holidays (Evening: 5pm-12 midnight) - Galway City GP Rota: 087-7744430.
  • Fri, Sat, Sun & Bank Holidays (Night: 12 midnight-9am) – Westdoc: 1850-365000.

FREE 24hr Mental Health telephone support available via:

  • Your Mental Health: 1800 111888 OR Samaritans: Freephone 116 123

AND

  • FREE Mental Health Text Support available via: 50808
  • In the event of a Medical Emergency, it is also possible to phone: 999 or 112

 

I am due a prescription for a medication that is being prescribed for me by the Student Health Unit doctor, what should I do?

Please simply phone the Student Health Unit on 091-492604, during Monday to Friday (excluding Public/Bank Holidays) between the hours of 9.30am – 12.30pm or 2.30pm – 4.30pm, to request an additional/repeat prescription.

Please note that your pharmacist can sometimes facilitate in providing you with an emergency supply of your medication, until a prescription can be arranged from the Student Health Unit Doctor. So, if you have run out and are in urgent need of your medication, consider discussing this with your pharmacist.

I am due a booster dose of my HPV or Travel Vaccine, what should I do?

The date recommended for your booster dose was chosen as the optimum date to achieve long-lasting immunity, however it will still be possible to administer the booster dose in the Student Health Unit once the Covid-19 restriction period has ended, without needing to recommence the whole immunisation schedule again. Please contact the Student Health Unit on 091-492604 or 083-3250034 to discuss this.

I am a Medical/Healthcare Sciences student and I need to undertake my medical screening / Hepatitis B vaccination / Blood test, what should I do?

Please simply phone the Student Health Unit on 091-492604, during Monday to Friday (excluding Public/Bank Holidays) between the hours of 9.30am – 12.30pm or 2.30pm – 4.30pm, to arrange an appointment for your screening/vaccination/blood test.

 

Sexual Health & Wellbeing 

Can I continue to have sex during Covid-19?

The HSE recommend that you only engage in sexual intimacy (including kissing) with those within your house if neither of you are displaying symptoms.
It is always important to wash before and after sexual intimacy and to use other precautions that can limit the exchange of fluids, for example barrier methods like condoms or dental dams.
Do not forget to continue regular contraceptive choices, such as the oral contraceptive pill, to prevent crisis pregnancy.
Sexual Health West is providing free condom and lubricant deliveries, for more information on this service visit here.
Masturbation, or solo sex, is the safest option. The HSE has confirmed that masturbating will not spread coronavirus, however individuals should wash hands and sex toys before and after.
You can read the HSE full guidelines here

Is there any change to what sexual consent means for me and my partner on lockdown? 

Sexual consent is ongoing in all sexual relationships (even long-term), and should never be assumed. Consent can be withdrawn at any point during a sexual act, even if you have said yes at the start – people can always change their mind.
Consent needs to be active so OMFG – ongoing, mutual and freely given. You can familiarise yourself with the full law on sexual consent here

How do I know if I have consent if I am engaging in or want to engage in phone sex with a new or established partner?

If you engage in phone sex, sexting or sending/receiving nudes with anyone – a new partner or someone you already know - make sure that the exchange is mutually desired. So talk to your partner(s) before you begin to explore what everyone is comfortable with and again before sending explicit photos.Then be sure to check-in regarding comfort levels – consenting is an active process - ongoing, mutual and freely given (OMFG). 

What should I know before sharing explicit photos with a partner? 

When engaging in phone sex, do not share explicit photos of someone without their consent and only send your photos to people you trust. Sharing explicit photos of someone without their consent is against the law.

What responsibilities do I have if I have photos of someone else on my devices? 

Make sure you have strong and secure passwords on your phone, as well as any social media accounts you might be using to send explicit photos. Make sure you have the senders permission to have their photo stored on your phone. And, see above, never share photos of yourself or anyone else without full consent. 

I need to get an STI test. What services can I contact? 

Registered students of NUI Galway can avail of an appointment for STI testing/treatment via the Student Health Unit, by phoning 091-494337.

At present, many public STI screening clinic services are temporarily suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak. For further information on these public sexual health services and STI treatments, click here.

I need emergency contraception. What can I do?

Pharmacies are still open, and you can access emergency contraception over the counter as normal. Contact your local pharmacies by phone first to see if they offer emergency contraception, to limit the number of businesses you will have to travel too.

I’m pregnant and I need an abortion. What do I do? 

Freephone the official HSE abortion helpline My Options on 1800 828 010. For more information, visit here.

I am experiencing violence from my partner I live with. What do I do?

If you or members of your family experience are affected during this time, you CAN still contact service providers and helplines. This list advises how your local services are affected during this time. This is a very difficult time, more especially for those living with a violent or abusive partner. Internationally, there have been reports of increased instances of domestic violence and abuse during this lockdown period.  

I’ve been sexually assaulted or raped. Are there services still open that I can access for help?

If you have experienced sexual assault or rape, or have been accessing services related to these experiences, or experience pronounced distress related to past experiences during lockdown, you CAN still reach out to your local rape crisis centres who are continuing to operate.  If you are still based in Galway, contact the Galway Rape Crisis Centre helpline at 1800 355 355 (10AM-1PM, M-F) or consult this guide to availability of services nationwide.