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The Union of Students in Ireland is encouraging students to know the signs, along with the supports and resources available, in order to be able to help friends and family members who may have suicidal thoughts, this World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September).

The Union is also taking the opportunity to express its appreciation for the third level mental health funding recently announced by Minister Simon Harris, but also to recognise and highlight the need for sustainable annual core funding for student mental health services.

USI Vice President for Welfare, Clare Austick said: “On World Suicide Prevention Day 2020, the USI and all its members remember all those who have died by suicide and their families, friends and loved ones who have been affected. Suicide is devastating and it is so important that as many people as possible know the signs and are aware of the supports and resources that are available if they or those close to them are having suicidal thoughts. It is ok to be not ok, and it is ok to ask for help.”

“We want to use today to encourage people to reach out and check-in with their loved ones, especially during these extremely difficult times. And we also want to highlight the support services, such as student counselling and helplines that are available if you or others are having difficulties. We are concerned that the mental health of students will likely worsen with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is appreciation for the third level mental health funding that was recently secured but there also needs to be recognition of the need for sustainable annual core funding to ensure support services are accessible and available at the highest standard when a person reaches out.

“USI strongly believes there is a need for a sustainable whole system approach to students’ mental health in higher education. USI and our members believe that more support and investment is needed in peer support programmes, mental health nurses in student health centres, mental health modules as part of curriculums and training for both staff and students around mental health.”

USI is looking forward to the upcoming publication of the first National Framework on Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention which will provide evidence-based guidance for  all those working in third level to come together in preventing suicide and improving mental health for all students.

Supports available:

  • Contact your college counselling service or welfare officer
  • Make an appointment with your GP
  • In an emergency attend your local A&E or phone 999
  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie
  • Call Pieta House on 1800 247247 or text HELP to 51444
  • Call LGBT Helpline on 1800 929 539 or see LGBT.ie
  • Call the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 77 8888 or email counselling@drcc.ie
  • Call the Irish Hospice Foundation Bereavement Support Line on 1800 807077
  • Text YMH to 50808 – a free and anonymous text support service

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