Writes Samantha Calthrop
Mental health in students is an increasing problem, with growing pressure on counselling services at universities. That is according to the USI National Report on Student Mental Health in Third Level Education, which surveyed over 3000 students, found that 33% of participants had been diagnosed with a mental health problem, 70% of whom were diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
USI have been actively campaigning on the issue of mental health in students, most recently campaigning with Sligo IT and 3ts to launch the ‘Share the Load’ initiative, in honour of International Men’s Day. ‘Share the Load’ highlighted the large proportion of male suicide victims; 80% of deaths by suicide are male.
“Mental health is something that affects us all. College is a fun time but also a lot of stress and pressure can be put on students during their time in college,” said USI Vice President for Welfare, Róisín O’Donovan, “It’s important that students realise that it’s good to talk about these stresses and that a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s OK not to feel ok and we want you to know that there are support services available both on and off campus.”
USI President Lorna Fitzpatrick, speaking on the launching of the helpline, “This is such an important resource for students, anxiety and depression is something that an uncountable amount of students suffer from on a day to day basis. In the USI National Report on Student Mental Health in Third Level Education, we found that 34.4% of students were put on a waiting list for counselling services for at least one week, this text line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While a fifth [20.9%] of students reported not having someone to talk to about personal and emotional difficulties.”
“We encourage all students to seek help and practice daily self care, as third level education is such a trying time between college deadlines, study, part-time work and maintaining family and friend relationships.”
To contact the helpline, text USI to 086 1800 280 to begin.