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Tuesday 24 January 2017

Thousands of ‘Chats for Change’ packs distributed to Irish universities as part of mental health campaign

Published 08/11/2016 | 18:30

Thousands of ‘Chats for Change’ packs distributed to Irish universities
Thousands of ‘Chats for Change’ packs distributed to Irish universities

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is distributing thousands of ‘Chats for Change’ packs to Irish universities this week as part of a campaign to get students talking about mental health.

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In partnership with St Patrick's Mental Health Services, Sea Change’s Please Talk campaign, Twitter and Roberts Tea, the campaign is trying to get students to talk about mental health and learn to support those in need.

The campaign is also providing one-to-one consultations from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

In a statement to Independent.ie, Annie Hoey, USI President, said: “USI is working hard to ensure that provision for vital mental health services in Ireland is improved. But supportive gestures from fellow students - such as reaching out for a quick chat over a cup of tea - will always be a necessary part of a supportive environment.”

“We find that students are really eager to engage,” Ms Hoey told independent.ie.

“Students want to know how to support someone – how to make sure their friend is supported if they are in need.”

Please Talk coordinator Treasa Hanniffy said: “The campaign hopes to remind students that having a cup of tea and asking someone if they are OK can have such a positive impact on a person's mental health and well-being. We want students to understand that talking is a strength not a weakness.”

The packs have been sent to all USI universities, but USI are also visiting certain universities as part of the Chats for Change tour.

USI were in GMIT on Monday and the Limerick School of Art and Design yesterday and they will visit Maynooth University tomorrow and IT Blanchardstown on Thursday.

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