Editorial: RAs Need To Be Looked After

Welcome back to a new semester in UCD where this Editor is hoping we don’t have to cover another impeachment. I simply just don’t have it in me.

I’d also like to welcome the Burkean Journal to UCD. Apparently the College Tribune isn’t providing enough conservative viewpoints because according to most people, we’re communists. Go figure.

On a serious note, the lead story in this issue is something that’s quite important. The accusations from a number of RAs who came forward to the Tribune alleging a lack of mental health training being provided to them. This is quite stunning.

RAs and SRAs have allegedly been expected to deal with students who are suicidal, in the midst of panic attacks or who are simply unable to cope with little or no support coming from above. This is a huge undertaking on the their part.

RAs and SRAs are not trained psychologists or psychiatrists. They are students doing their best to get themselves through college as well as working a stressful part time job. They should be appreciated but they should be trained properly and not be expected to handle serious situations such as a suicidal student by themselves.

When I was a 1st year in UCD, I lost a friend to suicide. She was a psychology student and we’d been in secondary school together. We were in UCD together too but we’d lost touch as we both tried to adjust to college life. Suicide has touched nearly all of us in some way and we all struggle to deal with it. Imagine you were an RA and were responsible for the welfare of a student who was suicidal. You’re trying to help them as best you can but you haven’t got the proper training and the UCD counselling service is overbooked. What can you do for that student other than monitor them and try to be there for them? That takes a huge toll on someone and shouldn’t be the norm.

UCD students deserve better. It’s as simple as that.

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Rachel O’Neill – Editor


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