The purple elephant on campus

An anti-stigma campaign was launched by the Students’ Union this week to get students talking about mental health.

Eve Kerton, DCU’s Welfare Officer, launched the campaign and said “mental illness is not wrong. It is no different than if any other part of your body was ill and we’re trying to eradicate the stigma that is attached to it.”

In order to get students talking about mental health, the SU carried a massive purple elephant throughout the campus. “It got people talking about the subject of mental health as they came over to take selfies with the elephant,” Kerton said. “It was definitely attention grabbing.”

Throughout the week the SU held events to cheer up students on campus. The highlight for Kerton and many students was the visit from the puppies. She said:“It was the happiest ten minutes of people’s lives.”

Societies also played a huge part in the mental health week. Music Soc held an open mic night where people shared their stories about depression and struggles. LGBT supported the cause and Urban Arts spray-painted a board to raise awareness on the topic. “It was heart-warming to see how many people helped. It was great to have the societies on board,” Kerton said.

There were also events such as a mindfulness session, a meditation class and talks from inspirational speakers.

Caroline McGuigan, founder of Suicide or Survive, was one such speaker who came to tell her experience about mental health and how she came from being admitted to hospital to founding Suicide or Survive.

Suicide or Survive focuses on breaking down the stigma of mental health in Ireland and is one of DCU SU’s three main charities for the upcoming year.

“I’m delighted with how the week has gone,” Kerton said. “It was well publicised with emails, posters, flyers, badges and the massive purple elephant. Our aim was to get students talking about mental health and I think that we were successful in doing so.”

“I think DCU have excellent services for coping with mental health. If people ever want to come in and chat we’re always here,” Kerton said.

 

Catherine Devine

Image: www.facebook.com/dcustudentsunion

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