Last week Trinity celebrated its annual Mental Health Week. The week aimed to explore different aspects of mental health among students and the general populace in ways which were both relatable and interesting. Students were invited to a range of events on campus all themed to promote mental well-being and open up a dialogue concerning mental health.
This year focused on the theme of emotions, both positive and negative. The idea being that people who embrace all sides of their emotions are more resilient to things such as stress. Each day highlighted a different emotion, with the events on the individual days being related to that emotion. The aim was to get people out of their comfort zones and overcome the stigma associated with certain emotions.
There were a variety of events throughout the week, including Speak Your Mind for Fear & Courage day (where various people from around college and the country came to talk about their experiences with mental health). The Trinity Chapel Gig for Sadness day, and the puppy room for Happiness day, were also popular on campus and drew large crowds (as you can see above and below).
Throughout the week funds were raised for various mental health organisations. This included Pieta House, who work to prevent suicide and self-harm in Ireland, and Walk In My Shoes, a campaign from St. Patrick’s Mental Hospital which helps young people with the difficulties they may face with mental health.
Although the events really got people engaged, it was important to also let students know about the variety of services available to them throughout the College year. Thousands of wallet sized cards were given out (along with lollipops) with the contact details for the college’s various support services, including the Student Counselling Service and the Welfare Office. Pleasetalk.org* and Niteline** pens and goodies were also given out to help promote the services that they make available to Trinity students.
Throughout the year, more mental health days will be run to help raise awareness around various mental health issues and to ensure students know of the services available to them. Mental health is part of everyone’s life, and the fantastic involvement of the student body last week demonstrated that it is an issue we are willing and ready to engage with.
*Pleasetalk.org is a directory website of support services available to students.
**Niteline is a free to call student-run operation for students who want to talk, from 9 pm – 2:30 am during term time (1800 793 793).
Ian Mooney is this year’s Welfare Officer for the Student’s Union, liaising with support services on behalf of students and acting as an on-campus advocate for various forms of student welfare (including sexual, mental, physical and financial).