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Over 1/3 of Students Feel down Every day and Most of them Find Comfort in Food


More than a third of Irish Students feel down every day and most of them find comfort in food, according to new information released today by the Union of Students in Ireland. 36% of students feel down every day and the most common thing they do when feeling down is eat chocolate, cakes, crisps or ‘treat’ foods.

83% of students said talking to someone helped when they’re feeling down, which is why the USI is launching their ‘Chats for Change’ campaign with Please Talk and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, between November 9 and 13, urging third level students to talk about mental health while enjoying a cup of tea with someone. Thousands of tea packs will be distributed across college campuses nationwide which will also include tips on how to start conversations about mental health and useful support service contacts.


The ‘Chats for Change’ Campus Road show will run from 10am-3pm from November 9 to 13 in campuses across Ireland such as DIT, Maynooth, Athlone IT, CIT and UCC.

“More than a third of students regularly feeling down is an alarming percentage.” Kevin Donoghue, Union of Students in Ireland president, said “It shows the fragility of the mind when it’s faced with multiple strains such as exam and financial stresses. We are urging students to talk about their problems, anxieties or strains to someone. People should be conscious of how they react to their friends’ mental health, because belittling the problem is extremely damaging to those suffering from anxiety or depression, as the statistics show.”

20% of students said the worst thing someone can say to them when they’re feeling down is “man up!” while 18.3% of students said “cheer up!” is the worst.


“393 young people under the age of 30 committed suicide last year.” Donoghue said, “43% of students said the worst part of feeling down is feeling isolated and hopeless with low self-esteem. We want to change these feelings. The Chats for Change campaign aims to change the stigma around mental health and encourage anyone feeling down to get into the habit of talking about it.”



Chats for Change Survey Results


If you’re feeling down does talking to someone help?

Yes 82.6%

No 17.4%


Who would you talk to if you’re feeling down?

Friend 60.2%

Family 21.2%

SU officer 3.5%

Other 15.0%


How often would you feel down?

Once an hour 6.1%

Once a day 36.5%

Once a week 35.7%

Once a month 12.2%

More 5.2%

Less 4.3%


What do you usually do if you’re feeling down?

Exercise 10.4%

Chat with friends 18.3%

Drink alcohol 8.7%

Eat chocolate, cakes, crisps or ‘treat’ foods 23.5%

Smoke cigarettes 4.3%

Take drugs 0.9%

Eat healthy foods 0%

Engage in hobbies 13.0%

Drink tea/coffee 10.4%

None of the above 10.4%


What’s the worst thing someone can say to you when you’re feeling down?

“Man up!” 20.0%

“Pull yourself together!” 13.9%

“Everyone gets depressed!” 14.8%

“Cheer up!” 18.3%

“Don’t worry, it’s not that bad!” 17.4%

“You’ll be OK!” 15.7%


What’s the most damaging thing someone can do to you when you’re feeling down?

Not being there for you 60.0%

Not addressing the problem 20.9%

Not asking if you’re OK 19.1%


What’s the worst part of feeling down?

Feeling isolated and hopeless with low self-esteem 42.6%

Feeling anxious, sad or bored 22.6%

Not having energy to do anything 14.8%

Loss of interest in hobbies, family or life 20.0%



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