Students suffering with mental health issues urged to speak out

Credit: Joanne Arnold Headstrong Staff Photographer

The most important thing for DCU students to maintain good mental health is having a reliable adult you can trust.

That’s according to the founder of Ireland’s leading youth mental health organisation who told DCU students “the most important thing for maintaining good mental health is to have a reliable, available adult that you can trust and talk to.”

Headstrong’s founder Tony Bates gave a speech on mental health in the Interfaith Centre last week. The speech was part of a number of events organised for last week’s Mental Health Week campaign.

Bates empathised with people who suffer from mental health issues, and urged them to speak out: “I don’t feel any different to those people. I’m like them. I have the same challenges.”

Bates focused on young people such as college students, who suffer with ill mental health. According to the ‘My World Survey’ released by Headstrong in 2012, almost 75 per cent of all mental disorders emerge between the ages of 15 and 25.

He insisted that in order to move forward, young people need to confront their problems. One of his presentation slides contained the words: “Healing happens when we move towards rather than away from what troubles us, and open ourselves to the messiness of our pain.”

Sr. Susan Jones, chaplain at DCU’s Interfaith Centre, said: “Hopefully this (talk) will help us all have a positive attitude to mental health.”

Suzanne Cooper

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