By Mary Malone on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 in News.
Please Talk is Ireland’s student-focused and student-led mental health campaign to connect third level students to support services available in the college setting and to empower students to talk openly about their mental health and suicide prevention. Please Talk urges students to understand that talking is a sign of strength, not of weakness, and if you’re experiencing problems while at college, there are people there who you can talk to.
Please Talk promotes this message through a collaborative effort involving the various support services present in colleges up and down the country such as: chaplains, counsellors, student support officers, students’ unions, disability support services. Most importantly, it is students on the ground who can be most effective in bringing the Please Talk message to the college community by establishing Please Talk/ Mental Health Societies on campus, running engaging initiatives and events and encouraging others students to play their part. For more details go to www.pleasetalk.org
Some of the highlights this year include:
Chats for Change
This campaign was to get Irish third level students talking about their mental health. It was in partnership with The Union of Students of Ireland (USI) and St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
There were 20,000 “Chats for Change” reusable cups and support cards distributed across college campuses nationwide to encourage the conversation about mental health. The aim of the campaign was to remind students that by having a cup of tea and asking someone if they are OK can have such a positive impact on a person’s mental health and well-being. While also providing information and signposting to support services that are available on campus and off campus while reminding them that talking is a sign of strength.
Mental Health Awards
Please Talk sponsored the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) mental health award. This is a great opportunity to acknowledge the amazing work that third-level students are achieving in creating awareness about mental health on campuses across Ireland. The awards night was held on the 13th April in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island, Cork with over 400 attendees. The overall winners were the Dublin Institute of Technology’s Mental Health Society for their “Mind your Head” campaign who are pictured celebrating with their award.
Mental Health Funding for Third-level Societies
As Please Talk is a student led, student focused mental health movement who’s aim it is to empower students to open the conversation around mental health and challenge the stigma around mental health; what better way to encourage the students to get involved than to offer funding to run a campaign. This reinforces our theory of supporting the grassroots and empowering them to take control and run their own initiatives. This is a popular initiative and the standard of the applications are growing each year with some amazing ideas and ways to engage the student population and remind them that talking is a sign of strength.
Some of this year’s successful applications included:
A Beautiful Mind: Connecting Arts and Mental Health was a one-day event that highlights the importance and usefulness of arts in expressing our mental health.
Be Sound Campaign was a 3-day long campaign from March 13th – 15th 2018 each day with a different theme. The core messaging was around the importance of talking, listening and supporting each other through our mental health difficulties.
Philosophy Society at NUI Galway: Couch Conversations
Couch Conversations was a bi-weekly campaign on campus, where students were provided with a comfortable and inviting space on campus to engage in conversation and dialogue with each other about mental health. There was a question tree that entails a number of comedic and thought-provoking questions that aimed to encourage students to laugh, and smile, but also to discuss tough question in relation to mental health; personal development and identity.
‘Would you share your mental health story online?’ panel discussion was held on the 12th April 2018 on University College Dublin campus to promote conversations about mental health among the university community and encourage students to seek help when it is needed.
Other events included:
Mental Health Presentation for Incoming Officers
USI invited Please Talk to talk about mental health and looking after yourself when dealing with case work for the incoming Student Union Welfare Officers. This talk took place in GMIT on the 14th June 2018.
On the 10th July, Please Talk held a workshop in “How to run an effective Mental Health Campaign on Campus” in Dublin Institute of Technology.
This workshop was open to anyone on campus who had an interest in running a campaign. There was 16 people who attended. Their backgrounds varied from welfare officers, mental health society members to staff involved in running campaigns on campus. This was great for engagement and also widening the Please Talk networks within colleges.
On the 3rd September, Please Talk was invited down to Maynooth campus by the African Student’s Association of Ireland to present at their first-year orientation event. There were over 50 students present mainly from Maynooth and Dublin Colleges.
This mental health initiative is a collaboration between GMIT Student Union, NUIG Student Union and Please Talk.
It kicked off on the 1st October 2018 continuing throughout semester 1. Mental Health Mondays is a series of Mondays which will discuss a mental health topic each week that affects students while in college. The students will be able to access the information through the Please Talk website, while all 3 partners will also run a social media campaign to increase the reach of the third level students across the 2 campuses. Settling into college, substance abuse, mental health well-being tips, positive body image, healthy relationships and the importance of talking to someone are some of the topics covered over the weeks. We also hope to run an exam stress campaign as student’s come closer to Semester one exams.
Lots going on with lots more great initiatives coming up in 2019. If you have any queries or wish to get involved. Please email the National Please Talk office at email@example.com or checkout www.pleasetalk.org for more details.
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