Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from Monday 9th of April to Thursday 12th of April. The designation of a week to the promotion of mental health awareness is done with the aims of educating students and staff about mental illness and highlighting the supports available to those who are struggling with mental health issues.

Mind, Body and Soul returns to UCD, in participation with the Students’ Union (UCDSU). It will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11am to 3pm on the Student Quad. Tuesday’s events include bunny cuddling, cow milking and henna tattoos, while Wednesday’s activities include a petting farm, a tie dye t-shirt workshop and free massages. The festival aims to promote mental wellbeing and raise awareness of the support services that are available to students in a fun, stress free setting.

The group Healthy UCD are organising a walk around campus on both Tuesday and Thursday at 1.10pm, beginning outside the Veterinary Building, with the aim of promoting a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with mental health.

On Thursday, the UCD Youth Mental Health Lab are hosting a panel discussion on the question, ‘Would you share your mental health story online?’ It will take place in E114 of the Newman Building between 1pm and 2pm. Speakers will include journalist and mental health advocate Rosemary MacCabe, Adolescent Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist Colman Noctor and Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Psychology Dr. Cliódhna O’Connor.

There are also a number of events running for UCD staff members. The UCD Staff Tai Chi Club is having a special ‘Try Chi’ session on Wednesday at lunchtime for staff members who are new to Tai Chi. UCD’s Employee Assistance Programme is hosting two seminars for staff on Thursday. The first will be on the topic of mental health awareness for managers. It will take place in H1.51 of the Science Hub at 11am. The seminar hopes to equip managers with a better understanding of staff welfare and the skills needed to recognise and address signs of stress. The second seminar will cover personal resilience and it will take place at 1pm in JH1.13 in the Science Hub.

During the recent Students’ Union election campaign, many candidates manifestos featured the desire to hold a mental health week at the beginning of each semester, rather than in Week 10. The current Union team did have previous plans to hold Mental Health Week at the beginning of semester one, but they were postponed due to the impeachment referendum.

Muireann O’Shea – Film Editor