We have been kept busy with the Open Up campaign over the last number of weeks, travelling to campuses all over the country. So far for this semester we have visited MTU Cork, IADT, ATU Athlone, TCD, Carlow College, DCU and NCI, and we’re due to pay a visit to MTU Kerry before we break for the Christmas!

We’ve loved having so many students come to our stand and chat with us about mental health in general, and the work we’re doing in USI on student mental health. We’ve given out hundreds of our mini mental health care packs, and each campus has had their prize draw for the self-care boxes! We are now up to over 400 subscribers to this newsletter which is great news because it means we can keep you informed of what we’re doing to help make student mental health supports better as well as sharing new resources to help you mind your own mental health.

The key message of the Open Up campaign is around talking about your mental health – to your friends and family, and also to professionals when needed. The aim of the campaign is to encourage students to normalise these conversations, and to check in with one another about their mental health. The theme of the campaign also links in with the notion of society opening up post-pandemic in an acknowledgement of the impact of the pandemic on student mental health, both during the pandemic and as society reopens. Typically, the process of a pandemic means that during the pandemic itself people are generally in survival mode, and as it moves to post-pandemic stage, not only is there a re-adjustment that can engender increased anxiety, but also society as a whole moves into a phase of processing and grieving, which can give rise to increased instances of mental illness.

We know that lots of students are struggling with their mental health but still aren’t seeking help for it. You don’t have to suffer on your own. If you are struggling in any way, please seek help. There is a list of resources that can help at https://mentalhealth.usi.ie/sources-of-support-for-mental-health/ – many of them are free or anonymous.