UCD yesterday hosted Republic of Loose to help raise awareness for World Mental Health Day. The event, cialis held in the student bar, ambulance kicked off the First Fortnight “Student Tour”, sale a project that has set itself the challenge of fighting mental health prejudice and discrimination in Ireland through the arts.

The bands were preceded by a viewing of a special edit of ‘I See a Darkness’ – an RTE documentary featuring Caroline McGuigan, CEO of SOS(Suicide or Survive), for students. This was followed by a discussion about how to remove the stigma associated with mental health.

The three day tour, which started at UCD yesterday continues today at Galway-Mayo ITand finishes on Wednesday at Waterford IT, is being led through a collaboration of First Fortnight and SOS and See Change. The main goal of the arts based mental health project, this year, according to First Fortnight was “to reduce stigma in mental health in Ireland.”

J.P Swaine, a founder of First Fortnight back in 2009, said on a special Welfare show on Belfield FM that the idea was “aimed at bringing a serious topic to colleges in a good environment.” He stressed the importance of raising awareness and breaking down the stigma associated with mental health which “is a huge problem” that exists in Ireland where 1 in 4 people over their lifetime will experience a mental health problem. Ms McGuigan also announced that they will be running a ‘Wellness Workshop’ for the college in the coming weeks. These workshops, she said will focus on helping “to educate and empower people – to put them in a position to be able to provide support to anyone who feels that they are struggling.”

The 10th of October since 1992 has been marked as World Mental Health Day by the World Federation for Mental Health as a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. Mental Health Ireland, with the current economic climate is running two national campaigns for the rest of the week, Building Resilience Together Project which was launched in 2010 and the National Choral Singing Week.


Matthew Farrelly