Welcome to mentalhealth.usi.ie

Welcome to the USI’s mental health page. This is the hub for news and updates to the mental health programme within USI. The main projects we are working on at the moment include the ReCharge campaign, our +Connections app and research projects. More information can be found on all of these projects on this site. If you have any questions or would like to contact Sarah, our Mental Health Programme Manager  – she would be delighted to hear from you. Her email is mentalhealth@usi.ie.

Rationale for the USI Mental Health Programme

Levels of mental illness, mental distress and low wellbeing among students in higher education is increasing (IPPR, 2017). 75% of adults with mental illness first experience symptoms before the age of 25, with peak onset from 18-25 (Kessler and Wang, 2008). This high-risk period coincides with entrance into and time spent in third level education.  A new report by AHEAD, which examines the numbers of students with disabilities in higher education in the academic year 2016/17, found a 46% rise in the number of new students registering with a mental health condition. (AHEAD 2018).

As well as an increase in the number of students who formally declare a mental health condition to their HEI, there are a high number who have self-reported mental distress. While not always meeting the threshold for mental illness, this distress is likely to have a significant effect on their ability to thrive both academically and personally and lead to an increase of demand for services.  (IPPR 2017)

While HEIs are primarily education providers, they also have a responsibility to protect and promote student mental health and wellbeing. Since July 2017 the HSE have provided funding to support the mental health programme in USI.  It is clear from the statistics that this programme within the USI to examine and advocate for services to meet the need of the growing demand is very much needed.