Covid-19 has posed a range of challenges to each individual person, but it is imperative that we recognise the immense challenge the pandemic has placed on our mental health. In response to this, UCC Students’ Union (UCCSU) have recognised the importance of reaching out in a new highly digitalised world, and thus have launched a unique blog, UCC TALKS.
Jamie Fraser, Welfare Officer for UCCSU, told University Express that the aim of the blog is to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health, by creating a community in which UCC Students can grow, learn and prosper together by sharing their individual story. “I’m hoping UCC TALKS will allow students to know that it’s okay not to be okay and that even though social interactions may be limited, they are not alone”, Mr Fraser said.
UCC TALKS takes the form of one UCC student sharing their story each week throughout the upcoming academic year. Mr Fraser revealed to University Express that UCCSU Events Office, Tara Coughlan, will also be involved in this initiative, holding socially-distanced events to break down the isolation students will have experienced during this time.
Fraser was quick to point out that UCC TALKS is not the only support available on campus but it will complement the other mental health supports that are currently in place. “With regards to mental health supports, UCC Student Counselling is currently being offered via phone appointments and this will be adapted into teleconference calls over Microsoft Teams, pursuant to public health advice. Other mental health supports can be accessed through myself, who will always be here to lend an ear. Furthermore, there are various other online and over the phone supports around the city being offered from Pieta House, Jigsaw, Aware and the Samaritans.”
Returning to college for a new academic year can be stressful for many students, but this anxiety is bound to be heightened when returning in a Covid-19 setting. UCCSU are pushing the message that “it’s completely natural to feel down or anxious, especially with regards to the pandemic and the ambiguity felt about returning to college.” Jamie Fraser added: “I’m here, for any student, whenever they need whether that be a chat about the football, sitting down for a socially distanced cup of tea or a phone call. Every student should be extremely proud of themselves for how they’ve handled the challenging situation placed in front of them and I will do my utmost to ensure students have the support they need and deserve.”
UCC TALKS can be found at Mental Health | UCC TALKS, as well as the UCCSU mental health Instagram page @keepwellucc. Jamie Fraser, UCCSU Welfare Officer can be contacted via email: email@example.com or +353 861842697.