USI Encourage Students to ‘Share the Load’ on International Men’s Day
Studies find that 8 out of 10 suicides are men (80%)
Today, the Union of Students in Ireland and the 3ts have joined forces in suicide prevention and positive mental health initiative ‘Share the Load’ in IT Sligo.
The initiative includes a public display of 105 backpacks, representing the average number of people of college-going age who die by suicide in Ireland each year. ‘Share the Load’ encourages conversation about the impact of suicide in colleges in addition to urging students to connect with the many mental health supports provided both on and off campus.
USI Vice President for Welfare, Róisín O’Donovan said:
“The main aim of today’s initiative is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly men’s mental health. Studies find that 8 out of 10 deaths by suicide are male, that is 80%. We need to talk about mental health to break down the stigma show the supports available for students both inside and outside of college.
Mental health is something that affects us all. College is a fun time but also a lot of stress and pressure can be put on students during their time in college. It’s important that students realise that it’s good to talk about these stresses and that a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s OK not to feel ok and we want you to know that there are support services available both on and off campus. Yesterday we launched a mental health text line for students that is available 24/7, just text USI to 086 1800 280 – you can also go to our +Connections App to find the services near you.”
Speaking on behalf of 3ts, Lise Alford said:
“We are delighted to work with USI and Sligo IT and we would like to commend them for their exceptional work so far. Our campaign ‘Share the Load’ is designed to be complementary to the great work that takes place in colleges all over the country. The premise of ‘Share the Load’ is that it is a dual invitation – firstly, to open up and share how you are feeling and secondly to be there for someone else who might be going through a tough time. Activities such as these, which are taken on and run by students themselves to highlight helpful supports, have never been more important in this context.
The purpose of 3Steps is to teach people to Know the Signs, Know the Words and Know your Supports. Our 3Steps wallet size card is a simple, practical guide on what to do if you are concerned that someone is suicidal, with the process broken down into our 3Steps. These wallet cards are available to download on www.3ts.ie or to request a copy by post, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
3Ts also took the opportunity today to highlight their complementary ‘3Steps to Mental Health’ programme which aims to foster a better understanding of mental illness; suggests ways to approach the topic if you are concerned for someone and teaches us how to access crisis and specialist supports.
In addition to activities such as these, 3ts also offers 3Ts TALKs on a variety of aspects of mental health and safeTALK Suicide Alertness training. safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares people, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. 3Ts delivers this training free of charge to interested groups and organisations.
USI hosts safeTALK training to Students’ Union Officers at various training events throughout the year.