Today is World Suicide Prevention Day
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are co-sponsoring World Suicide Prevention Day, which takes place today, September 10th.
A large proportion of people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness. This is a growing problem globally, with recent estimates by the WHO suggesting that the disease burden caused by mental illnesses will account for 25% of the total disease burden in the world in the next two decades, making it the most important category of ill-health, even more important than cancer or heart disease. And yet, a significant number of those with mental illnesses who die by suicide do not contact health or social services near the time of their death. This year, the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day is “Stigma: A Major Barrier for Suicide Prevention.” The attitudes of Irish people and the impact that stigma has upon those suffering from mental illness is eloquently expressed in the short documentary film “What Stigma?”, produced by Irish filmmaker James Keating.
Mental Health is a major issue among students. Recent studies in Northern Ireland found that over a quarter of students were suffering from a mental illness, or had done so in the past. The Irish Association of University and College Counselors (IAUCC) have also noticed a large increase in the number of students availing of their services, saying that while numbers in third level have risen 16% since 2007, those seeking their help are up 33%. The current economic situation and lack of services available elsewhere are cited as reasons for the increase in visitations.
So what about stigma among students? The Irish Journal of Medical Science published an article examining the attitudes towards mental health among medical students. They found that students who knew someone with experience of mental illness were associated with more tolerant attitudes. They also found that students demonstrated a positive attitudinal shift after finishing their clinical module in psychiatry, having been talking to patients with mental illnesses. This demonstrates the value of education in combating stigma towards those suffering from mental ill-health.
Thankfully, there are resources available on campus for students who feel they may be suffering from depression or any other mental illness. Confidential, professional counselling is offered by the Student Counselling Service. It is free of charge and available to all registered students in Trinity. http://www.tcd.ie/Student_Counselling/
My Mind Matters (MMM) is an online mental health and well-being resource for third-level students in Ireland, run as a collaboration project between NUIG, TCD, Dundalk IT and UCC. On their website you can avail of online one to one counselling, advice from a counselor or you can discuss mental health issues on their moderated online forum. https://mymindmatters.ie/tcd/
The TCD college health website contains information and article on ways to manage stress http://www.tcd.ie/collegehealth/promotion/mental-health/ , as well as having info about the Peer Support Network, a student run support network offering support for any students in Trinity having problems inside or outside college. http://student2student.tcd.ie/
Biosoc will be running a Mental Health night later in the academic year, be sure to check our facebook page for more updates in the second semester!