You might have noticed backpacks lining the front square of Trinity College yesterday and wondered what they were doing there. They were placed there as a representation of the average number of college students who die by suicide every year in Ireland. There were 131 backpacks.
This display was part of the Send Silence Packing campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the impact of suicide. They endeavour to link students with the mental health support they need and inspire action to prevent suicide. This is a heartbreaking and evocative display that only serves to highlight a growing problem that is not being dealt with. It will be moved to campuses across the country in the coming weeks.
Scott Ahern of 3Ts illustrates the simplicity of what they are saying. “Our messages are simple – 1. Be there for someone by simply listening. 2. Reach out when times are tough. 3. Find your on-campus and off campus support services at Pleasetalk.org.”
— Please Talk (@PleaseTalkorg) February 22, 2016
Aoife Ni Shuilleabhain, the Vice President for Welfare for USI weighed in on the stigma surrounding mental health. “The stigma surrounding mental ill health prevents people from coming forward and seeking the help and support they need...We want students to know that it is ok not to feel ok but that help is always available and all you need to do is ask! We also need those who hope to be our next leaders to recognise the importance of investment into mental health services and their fundamental importance to students in need.”