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Students call for urgent awareness and education around self harm
Friday March 1st is Self-Harm and Injury Awareness Day. Reacting to the statistics released by the National Suicide Research foundation, which indicated that there has been a 21% increase in the number of self-harm cases among 10 to 24-year-olds between 2007 and 2017, USI have teamed up with Pieta House, Preventing Suicide and Self Harm to help break the stigma and shame surrounding self-harm, and spread the word about supports available if a student or their friend is going through a crap time.
USI are encouraging students to add an orange ribbon to their profile pictures – an image which also bares a ‘semi-colon’ symbol, used to indicate where an author could have ended a sentence, but chose not to. The orange ribbon is aimed at promoting positive awareness regarding supports like Pieta House available for people who are experiencing self-harm or injury in their lives.
Síona Cahill, President of USI stated:
“It is not ‘attention seeking’ to self harm or injure – for so many of us it is a way of coping with severe emotional distress or experiences, feelings of social isolation, sadness or anger. Life stuff that gets too much. If it’s happening, we need to help each other to reach out and build up our capacity to manage what we’re going through in a different way. Reach out to a trusted friend – tell them what’s going on.”
Speaking about students assisting friends through a tough time, she stated:
“We need to be there for each other. If someone trusts you enough to confide in you about their self-harm, you can start to help them immediately. First, honour their trust in you by showing them kindness, love and compassion. Second, help them get the support they need. Share info and supports with them and encourage them to make an appointment with their GP and to reach out to Pieta House themselves. You can also support them if necessary by asking their permission to contact Pieta House on their behalf, and reassure the person that you’ll come with them for their appointment, even if they’re over 18.”

Pieta House can help you talk through what you’re going through, or what a friend is going through – 1800 247 247

  • 1 in every 198 young men (20-24) self-harmed or injured in 2017;
  • 1 in every 132 young women (15-19) self harmed or injured in 2017;
  • There are twice as many incidences of self-harm for young people who are LGBTI+ in comparison to peers;
Further Comment:
Síona Cahill | USI President | president@usi.ie
USI Campaign to promote supports for those experiencing self harm or injury
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