UCD’s Dramsoc to team up with mental health organization Aware in order to promote positive mental health among students.

Dramsoc have launched a brand new campaign with leading Irish mental health charity Aware, case in an attempt to increase awareness of depression among students. The promotional video, order entitled ”#howareyou”, cure stresses the benefits of genuine conversation in helping students facing the reality that life sometimes isn’t “grand”, as we tend to say.

“#howareyou” looks at the different responses to the everyday question “How are you?” and in particular the way in which asking it as more than just a friendly greeting can show someone that they are able to confide in you. This could lead to a more honest answer than simply “ok” or “fine”. Dramsoc auditor, Cathal Moroney told the College Tribune that “We want to encourage people to express themselves if they are feeling down”.

The video has a simple, yet powerful message and with many causes of and solutions to depression, the campaign reminds viewers that it is always possible to confide in a friend, and moreover that it is your responsibility as a friend to ask someone how they are.

As Ireland‘s best known charity in mental health awareness, Aware‘s involvement is natural in a campaign of this type. “From the second the campaign was thought up, I thought Aware were the ideal choice to link with the campaign,” added Moroney on the involvement of the charity, “The vision of their charity is the exact vision of #howareyou, so it was a clear choice from the start.”

With the video reaching thousands of views within its first week online, the campaign has attracted the attention of the national media, most notably that of RTE’s Morning Ireland, on which Dramsoc have been asked to appear. “The response from the national media has been extremely exciting.” admits Moroney. “Being the first campaign of this nature that we’ve ran in Dramsoc, I wasn’t entirely sure how well this would work but I am blown away with the feedback.” he also added.

Along with the video, Dramsoc are hosting performances of original pieces in early November also tackling the same “how are you?” theme. Plans for the campaign are big, with Dramsoc hoping to carry on this success into next semester. “I hope that semester two can revisit this theme, again in association with Aware,” says Moroney. “It’s extremely encouraging that an issue so prevalent can create such a buzz on a national basis.” With the help of different fundraisers, events and, most likely, some more original pieces, Dramsoc hope to continue in spreading their message of confiding in a friend, and being the friend someone can confide in.

With their own campaign starting out so successfully, Dramsoc now hope that this will have a domino effect on the rest of campus, with more students and societies getting involved. “The more and more this is done, the more people will hear this message and ultimately, the more people will benefit positively from it”. Moroney told the College Tribune. With Ireland having the fifth highest suicide rate in Europe, sometimes concluding the question “Are ya well?” with the response “ ‘Cause you’re looking well”, isn’t enough to aid students whose mental health issues don’t appear on the surface; sometimes all that is needed is a genuine, “how are you?”.

Grace Williams