Students asked ‘What makes you smile?’ for Mental Health Awareness Week 2012


The Union of Students in Ireland has partnered with,, and to launch Mental Health Awareness Week 2012. This national campaign will be launched in the National College of Ireland (NCI), St Angela’s College Sligo and Institute of Technology Tralee on Monday November 12th at 12pm and will be run in colleges across the country.

The theme for the campaign this year is positive mental health and the promotion of support services available to students and young people. The tagline of the campaign is ‘What Makes You Smile?’

The campaign aims to tackle the increasingly negative outlook that many students have, due to financial stress and other factors, by asking them to identify and value the smaller things in life that make us smile and impact positively on our mental health and well-being.

Thousands of packs will be distributed to colleges across the country, incorporating the ‘What Makes You Smile?’ theme. The pack includes a postcard, a HeadsUp pen, and a bookmark. It is hoped that this pack will encourage students to express what it is that gets them through college during difficult times and what makes them smile.

Twitter competition: #WhatMakesYouSmile – join the conversation and tweet a picture of what makes you smile to be in with a chance of winning a ‘Feel Good’ hamper.


Denise McCarthy, USI Vice President for Welfare said: “The mental health of Ireland’s young people is more important than ever, as students and families face increasing financial stress. This campaign is about helping our members to identify the small things that can make their college days easier. We’re also encouraging students who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health to avail of college support services. We are delighted to partner with mental health organisations that will help spread the message of this campaign across Ireland.”

Collette Ryan, of HeadsUp said: “HeadsUp is delighted to be a partner once again in the development of the USI Mental Health pack. The theme ‘What Makes You Smile?’ fits perfectly with HeadsUp’s activities, in particular our ‘Online Skills’ and ‘Acts of Random Kindness’ available on Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can have such a positive impact. We want students to take the time to look at, look for, appreciate and spread acts of random kindness that can put a smile on other peoples’ faces.”

Nigel O’Callaghan, Community Engagement Officer with said: “Promoting the messages that talking is a sign of strength and to reach out if you’re going through a tough time is vital to ensure nobody is left to feel alone. We are encouraging students to address any difficulties or challenges they may face before those difficulties potentially lead to crisis. We know services such as and work because they are delivered online – and online is where young people go for mental health information and support.”


For more information, contact USI Media and Communications Executive, Ronan Costello, on 085-1164263 or email at