Mental health – more than just a health issue
Dr. Justin Brophy, Chair of the Irish Association of Suicidology, opened the Second Annual Please Talk Forum yesterday in University College Dublin (UCD).
What is happiness?
He said that “people underestimate the core components of staying mentally healthy and are constantly bombarded by conflicting messages of what will make them happy. By understanding that personal happiness is not disconnected from the wellbeing of others, we begin to prioritise our relationships and become stronger. Once this can be communicated to students then they will be able to deal with any challenge that faces them throughout life.”
He called for mental health in Ireland to be positioned at the core of students’ priorities, especially in the adversity of our current cultural environment. Dr. Brophy stated that “Mental health is more than just a lifestyle and health issue. It needs to be positioned in a way that people value it and guard it.”
Suicide in Ireland
The majority of Irish students are in the most vulnerable age category for risk of suicide. In acknowledgement of this, students at UCD set up the PleaseTalk initiative in 2007 with a view to reaching out to students.
PleaseTalk is funded by the HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention and has two components.
• ‘Talking is a sign of strength’, urges students to talk to someone if they’re having problems at home, college or anywhere else.
• pleasetalk.org highlights the extensive support available to students on campuses throughout Ireland, as well as external information and services.
ReachOut.com and PleaseTalk
The new partnership between PleaseTalk and ReachOut was also announced. Supported by the HSE, the partnership will help guide the development of the initiative and ensure that students are supported throughout their journey in third level education.
ReachOut.com’s CEO Elaine Geraghty said, “this partnership is a good example of collaboration between like-minded organisations with young people at the centre of everything they do. Together we are working to ensure students get through their tough times”.
Geoff Day, director of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention gave his support, “the HSE is proud to be backing a student-led initiative and working in a partnership with ReachOut.com to create a healthy environment for students” he said.