More than 1 in 4 Northern Ireland students suffer mental illness

More than 1 in 4 Northern Ireland students suffer mental illness

By Ian Birch

A campaign called "Open Your Mind" has been launched this week to raise awareness of the fact that 27% of college and university students in Northern Ireland suffer mental health difficulties.   The findings were revealed in an NUS/NI Students/Rethink Northern Ireland survey/study.

Attractive Uni StudentsA mobile web app has been launched -- visit -- with tips on improving mental wellbeing and a quiz on mental health facts, which I found fascinating.

Open Your Mind is a five-year peer-led mental health project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to promote awareness of mental health issues amongst students in further and higher education across Northern Ireland, reduce the risk factors related to mental illness through awareness-raising and to overcome the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.

President of the project's lead partner NUS-USI, Adrianne Peltz, stated:

“So many people who leave home for the first time and are far away from friends and family can experience problems in relation to mental health. This type of scenario and the pressure of holding down a job while facing the stress of having to pass many exams and complete assignments can have a profoundly negative impact on some people’s lives, and this report’s findings are very telling.

“There must be no stigma attached to mental health matters and the Open Your Mind team at NUS-USI have done, and continue to do, an absolutely fantastic job in equipping students with the skills to help them assist others to combating the devastating impact of mental health problems.

“The launch of new campaign sees the team taking their training techniques on the road to help students right across Northern Ireland. They deliver a very valuable service and, given the increasing career and financial pressures many students face on an everyday basis, their work is becoming more and more important every day.”

Deputy Chief Executive of the project's other partner organisation MindWise, Anne Doherty, added:

“These are very interesting findings which clearly show how many people have or have had a mental illness, yet they also starkly illustrate a potential lack of understanding of this very important issue, with around one in five people surveyed saying they had no experience of mental illness personally or through someone close to them.

“Both these key statistics perfectly illustrate the importance of the work that the Open Your Mind team do in raising awareness and training students in relation to mental health matters.”

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