World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2012

Dundalk IT will play host to a full programme of events for World Mental Health day staged in collaboration with See Change, the national stigma reduction partnership, Suicide or Survive, Save Our Sons and Daughters, Soroptimists Drogheda, Yellow Asylum Films and the Union of Students in Ireland.

This engaging and thought-provoking programme of events which will include a documentary screening, workshops, information sessions, and evening entertainment across the college campus is aimed at challenging the stigma the surrounds mental health problems and promoting open discussion.

Certain to get this important conversation going is an intimate screening of the acclaimed RTE/Yellow Asylum Films documentary ‘I See A Darkness’ which features the stories of three people who have been directly affected by suicide. The documentary’s three participants and producer will be on hand to take the audience through their powerful personal stories and answer any questions that arise.

International research shows that the sharing of personal stories and experiences of mental health problems is a very powerful way to challenge stigma and create openness and understanding.

Ber McDonnell who shares her personal story in the ‘I See a Darkness’ documentary and workshop explained that:

“Underscoring the need for open discussion of mental health problems on college campuses is research undertaken by See Change in 2011 that shows that 69% of third level students would not want anyone to know if they were experiencing a mental health problem.”

Kahlil Thompson-Coyle, Campaign Manager with See Change said:

“See Change is working with DkIT students to break the silence of stigma and send the message loud and clear that mental health problems are simply part and parcel of being human. No one should ever be ashamed to seek help and no-one should ever have to suffer in silence.”

DkIT Students’ Union and DkIT Student Counselling Service will provide workshops and information sessions on the day as well as formally launching DkIT Mental Health Guidelines. As part of their on-going support on campus, DkIT Student Counselling Service will also be facilitating the “Living Life to the Full” programme in conjunction with AWARE from the 17th of November.

USI Vice President for Welfare Denise McCarthy said:

“As the cost of college increases every year, students and families are subject to significant financial stress which can lead to mental health problems. Welfare officers in Students’ Unions around the country are encouraging students to avail of support services that may help alleviate some of the worry. USI is working to eliminate any remaining stigma associated with mental health and to promote a healthy attitude towards seeking help.”

Gertie Raferty, Student Counsellor at DkIT said:

“We are delighted to be part of this day and the message we want to send out is that no matter what your mental health difficulty may be, you are not alone; there is support available on campus. Our aim through sharing our experience is that no longer can we leave those who are feeling very low, who have suicidal thoughts, who are self-harming or those bereaved through suicide to their own private despair and grief. We must have honest and open discussions about suicide and mental health. We must create a society that is more caring and sensitive; where people seek help, not shy away from it.”

Remarking on their community-wide engagement on the issue of mental health, Mary Hession of Soroptimist International Drogheda said:

“The vision of Soroptimist International is to work voluntarily on community based and international projects to improve the lives and status of women and girls through education. The current national project is to work with partners to promote better understanding and awareness of mental health. It was therefore a logical decision for Drogheda Soroptimists to support this day dedicated to mental health as part of our contribution to the national project.”

Recognising that everyone has a role to play in challenging the stigma of mental health problems, the day’s programme of events is open to DkIT students and staff and the wider community.

The full day’s programme is available at: events/345-campus-tour-2012



1. To arrange an interview with from a spokesperson from any of the organisations involved, contact Sorcha Lowry (Communications Officer, See Change) on 0867954391 or

About See Change: See Change, the National Mental Health Stigma Reduction Partnership, is an alliance of over 60 organisations working together to bring about positive change in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems. 

About Suicide or Survive (SOS): SOS is an Irish charity focussed on breaking down the stigma associated with mental health issues and ensuring that those affected have access to quality recovery services that are right for the individual. SOS works to build a society where people embrace their mental health wellness and those with difficulties are treated with dignity and respect, and experience a service that offers them hope, a safe place and a positive future. 

About Save Our Sons And Daughters (SOSAD): SOSAD works to raise awareness of suicide in Ireland, break the taboo surrounding suicide, provide support and direction to those feeling suicidal, provide support and direction to those approached by someone feeling suicidal and those bereaved by suicide. 

About Soroptimist International of Drogheda: Soroptimist International of Drogheda form part of the largest service organisation for women worldwide. Soroptimists inspire action and help create opportunities to ensure that women worldwide enjoy equality and have greater access to education and healthcare. 

About the Union of Students in Ireland (USI): USI is the national representative body for Ireland’s 250,000 students in third level education.

For further information please contact: Sorcha Lowry, See Change Communications & Partnership Coordinator, T: + 1 8601620 M: + 86 7954391 E: Twitter: @SeeChangeSorcha