WITSU and 3ts help ‘share the load’ with suicide prevention Initiative for students at WIT

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The public display of 124 backpacks, represents the average number of college students who die by suicide in Ireland each year

The public display of 124 backpacks, represents the average number of college students who die by suicide in Ireland each year

Share the Load encourages conversation about the impact of suicide in colleges and urges students to connect with on campus mental health supports

3ts and WIT joined forces with their suicide prevention and positive mental health initiative ‘Share the Load’ which took place this week on the WIT Cork Road campus.

The initiative includes a public display of 124 backpacks, representing the average number of college students who die by suicide in Ireland each year. ‘Share the Load’ encourages conversation about the impact of suicide in colleges in addition to urging students to connect with the many mental health supports provided on campus at WIT and in other colleges around the country.

Reduce stigma

“The main aim of today’s initiative is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and to showcase the various simple activities that can help and also the supports that are available for students both inside and outside of WIT” said Darren Malone, Vice President Welfare Officer at WIT.

“Mental health is something that affects us all at some stage or another. College brings with it a lot of fun but also a lot of stresses at different times. We think it’s important that students realise that it is good to talk about these stresses and that a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s OK not to feel ok and we want you to know that we are here to support you whenever you may need it.”

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Student-led initiatives

Speaking on behalf of 3ts, Lise Alford said “We are delighted to work with WIT and we would like to commend them for their exceptional work so far.  Our campaign ‘Share the Load’ is designed to be complementary to the great work that takes place in colleges all over the country.  The premise of ‘Share the Load’ is that it is a dual invitation – firstly, to open up and share how you are feeling and secondly to be there for someone else who might be going through a tough time.  Activities such as these, which are taken on and run by Students themselves to highlight helpful supports, have never been more important in this context.”

'3Steps to Mental Health'

3Ts also took the opportunity to highlight their complementary ‘3Steps to Mental Health’ programme which aims to foster a better understanding of mental illness; suggests ways to approach the topic if you are concerned for someone and teaches us how to access crisis and specialist supports.

Speaking about 3 Steps, Lise Alford said: “The premise of 3Steps is to teach people to Know the Signs, Know the Words and Know your Supports. Our 3Steps wallet size card is a simple, practical guide on what to do if you are concerned that someone is suicidal, with the process broken down into our 3Steps. These wallet cards are available to all organisations by contacting www.3ts.ie where a copy of the card may also be downloaded.”

In addition to activities such as these, 3ts also offers safeTALK training. safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares people, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. For further information on 3ts, please visit www.3ts.ie


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