Mental health week began on Monday October 8th and will continue until Friday October 12th. Bodywhys were invited in to give a talk on eating disorders on Monday followed by safeTALK training, sovaldi which is aimed at creating suicide alertness. Mícheál Gallagher, UCDSU Welfare Officer, hopes that the week will continue with the goal of creating awareness around the campus regarding mental health issues.
Tuesday will see a mental health reform petition being circulated around campus with the aim of “getting over 1,000 signatures asking government to re-think the potential €35 Million in mental health seeing as it is such a huge issue” according to Gallagher. The mental health week launch is occurring on Tuesday night featuring speakers from See Change and Headstrong along with Fine Gael TD, Gerry Buttimer. Gallagher feels that speakers such as Buttimer give a very “personal feel to the launch.”
“As a Welfare officer you are in a unique position where you are privy to so much information and when you walk around campus you can see that mental health is such a huge issue for Irish society,” remarks Gallagher. Mícheál hopes that Ireland will escape the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Mental health week falls at a time when society is conscious of mental health issues with world mental health day falling on Wednesday. On Wednesday students will be afforded a unique opportunity when they can take part in Life skills session in the Blue room from 5pm to 7pm. Students are invited to e-mail Gallagher in advance for participation in this event.
Thursday sees a more relaxed part of the campaign. There will be a coffee morning in the Student Centre, which will spread out through the day into a coffee evening in UCD Residences. “Res for some people can be the loneliest place…[the aim is] to create a community buzz,” says Gallagher.
The week will be completed on Friday with a relaxation day from 10am to 4pm in the Red room. There will be “feel good movies so people can come down and chill out…it’s good to remember to chill out,” according to Gallagher. The relaxation day is open to all students who can “pop down between lectures,” remarked the SU Welfare officer.