USI’s Chats For Change Campaign Starts Its Fifth Year

by Quinn Kanner
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Chat For Change Graphic from USI's Twitter

The Chats For Change campaign will prompt college students to talk about mental health for the fifth year.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in partnership with Please Talk, Walk in My Shoes and the HSE, is distributing Chats For Change packets to colleges around Ireland to encourage students to reach out and talk to someone over a cup of tea.

“The HEA Eurostudent Survey published last week reported 83% of students with mental health problems want or need support from public or institutional bodies,” USI President Michael Kerrigan said.

“We’re hoping Chats for Change packs can be a reminder for students that there are free services available for them or their friends if they want to talk. Even just asking a fellow student ‘how are you?’ over a cup of tea can make a real change,” Kerrigan continued.

The most recent HEA Eurostudent Survey also reports that 8% of all undergraduate and postgraduate students report having a mental health problem. Only 6% of those students said their mental health problems had no impact on their everyday activities and only 5% said they had no impact on their studies.

“We are delighted to support Chats for Change campaign in its fifth year of running,” HSE National Director for Community Operations Anne O’Connor said. “The key aim of this campaign is to encourage third level students to talk about their mental health openly during normal encounters like over a cup of tea.

“This is something we promote through our Little Things campaign which was designed to remind all of us of the simple and powerful day-to-day steps that we can all take to protect our own mental health and support the people we care about.”

The Chats For Change campaign will visit various college campuses as part of a roadshow from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, including visiting IADT on Feb. 1.

Students can pick up Chats For Change packs in their student union, according to USI.

For support, students can also contact:

  • Samaritans—116 123
  • Aware—1800 80 48 48
  • Pieta House—1800 247 247
  • Walk In My Shoes—01 249 33 33
  • LGBT Helpline—1890 929 539
  • Bodywhys—1890 200 444

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