Archive for the ‘News’ Category

You, me and our mental health. PleaseTalk Forum 2013

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Aimee O’Callaghan, DIT’s student affairs manager and PleaseTalk’s steering committee chairperson shares her account from the 2013 forum.

The Pleasetalk Forum took place at DIT Kevin Street on 14 June. Bringing together student support staff, welfare officers and students from across the country to network and make their PleaseTalk plans for 2013-2014.

Pleae Talk forum 2013
Over 60 people were there to get information on the PleaseTalk service and brainstorm new ideas. There was great input and shared experiences from college campuses. Top priority was given to how best to spread the PleaseTalk message to colleges nation-wide.


A highlight of the day was an address from Gerry Raleigh, the new director of the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP). Gerry welcomed and encouraged ideas and feedback from anyone involved with youth mental health. It was an opportunity to connect first-hand with the NOSP.

In the afternoon a panel discussion was chaired by DIT campus life manager Brian Gormley. Participants included Ruth Baker, a Headstrong ambassador; Barbara Dooley from UCD; Aisling O’Grady, one of the Founders of Please Talk, and Denise McCarthy the welfare officer from the Union of Students in Ireland.

“Challenges and opportunities of mental health in third level” was the discussion. There was great energy and input from the audience, demonstrating the passion for getting our mental health strategies right.

The enthusiasm from the forum and interest in new membership to the steering committee is an exciting time for PleaseTalk. As chairperson of the steering committee I deal with students everyday and am really excited for the year ahead.

Let’s get talking

Finally, I want to say the PleaseTalk message is very simple and something we should consider including in everything we do: societies, training, class rep meetings, rag week etc.

Whether you’re a student, or a staff member with an interest in mental health promotion, the PleaseTalk message and service is available for you to share.

Feedback and dates for the diary

If you missed the forum and have anything you’d like to share, please contact us. We’ll be finalising details for 2013-2014 soon so please forward any ideas you have by 19 July.

PleaseTalk materials will be sent out in August. Contact us to see where they will arrive on campus and if you want help in considering how to promote the message.

On 13 November the PleaseTalk candlelight events will take place around the country. Could your college take part?

5 March, 2014 we will celebrate seven years of PleaseTalk. Mark it in your diary, and maybe your college can host an event?

We will launch more details of events, support and advice over the coming months. If you want information or have queries please email us at [email protected] .

PleaseTalk Forum 2013

Thursday, June 13th, 2013
The annual PleaseTalk Forum takes place tomorrow, Friday, 14 June 2013. This year’s theme is ‘PleaseTalk: you, me and our mental health’.

Running order

Derek Chambers from will be MC-ing for the day, with Brian Gormely from DIT welcoming everyone at the start of the day.
Gerry Raleigh, Director of NOSP, will be speaking at 11 am about the campaign. Aimee O’Callaghan DITSU and Denise McCarthy from Unions of Students in Ireland will follow Gerry to talk about “Your PleaseTalk”.

Hearing from you

Eight breakout sessions will aim to get feedback from those attending, on a number of elements, from how to encourage engagement on campuses to what your ideal could be.
After lunch a panel discussion will cover the opportunities and challenges in promoting mental health at third level education.


We’re delighted to be hosting the event at DIT Kevin Street, Dublin 8 from 10.00 – 16.00 with lunch provided. All welcome.

Two-way conversation about mental health

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

We’re right in the middle of the Green Ribbon campaign for the month of May, to get Ireland talking about mental health. Let’s get this conversation started, right?

Green Ribbon

A hundred ways to ask “How are you?” But, there’s only one way to answer; “Grand”. That’s us, that’s the Irish way apparently.

Encouraging conversation

With,,, and campaigns like Green Ribbon, we try to encourage conversation, get a dialogue going about mental health. But by the same token, we need to make sure we know how and when to listen.

Most of us recognise that talking about tough times is important. Getting things out in the open can be the best thing for you. Don’t bottle things up. But, who you open up to and how you do it is equally as important.

Who you talk to

Talking doesn’t have to be about going to see a counsellor or a doctor, though great if you can. It’s not an option for a lot of us. It can be expensive or there maybe none near you. You may have had a bad experience with one, or you just didn’t feel you could open up to them. It happens.

Family or friends can be just as helpful. So we can also be support for our friends and family. Therefore, how we are when someone opens up to us is very important.

How to listen

You could be the first person your friend or family member approach when going through something tough and so you need to be as understanding as possible. There are useful ways to listen to someone to make them feel heard and understood.

If someone tells you at three in the morning after a rake of drinks that they’ve been struggling a bit recently, you could be the first person they’ve told. Acknowledge it, but, maybe suggest talking about it again, when you’re able to take it in better and give them the time.

Clear expression

There are effective ways to communicate that we all could do with knowing, to make sure we all express ourselves clearly. Remember, it can also be quite overwhelming when someone opens up to you for the first time, so make sure you look after yourself too.

Let’s get everyone talking about mental health and let’s be ready and know how to listen.

PleaseTalk Forum 2013

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

PleaseTalk Forum poster

This year’s forum will take place on Friday, 14 June 2013.

The theme for this year will be ‘PleaseTalk: you, me and our mental health’ with the highlight of the day focusing on a panel discussion on ‘opportunities and challenges in promoting mental health in third level’.


We’re delighted to be hosting the event at DIT Kevin Street, Dublin 8 from 10.00 - 16.00 with lunch provided.

For more information contact [email protected]. in 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It’s been a busy year for as well as turning five! Here are a selection of photos from some of the events that happened this year.

Get the flash player here:

Mental health awareness week

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

The Union of Students in Ireland has partnered with,, and to launch Mental Health Awareness Week 2012.

This national campaign will be launched in the National College of Ireland (NCI), St Angela’s College Sligo and Institute of Technology Tralee on Monday, 12 November  at 12pm and will be run in colleges across the country.

What makes you smile?

The theme for the campaign this year is positive mental health and the promotion of support services available to students and young people. The tagline of the campaign is ‘What Makes You Smile?’

The campaign aims to tackle the increasingly negative outlook that many students have, due to financial stress and other factors, by asking them to identify and value the smaller things in life that make us smile and impact positively on our mental health and well-being.

Student packs

Thousands of packs will be distributed to colleges across the country, incorporating the ‘What Makes You Smile?’ theme. The pack includes a postcard, a HeadsUp pen, and a bookmark. It is hoped that this pack will encourage students to express what it is that gets them through college during difficult times and what makes them smile.

Twitter competition: #WhatMakesYouSmile – join the conversation and tweet a picture of what makes you smile to be in with a chance of winning a ‘Feel Good’ hamper.

Partnering with mental health organisations

Denise McCarthy, USI Vice President for Welfare said: “The mental health of Ireland’s young people is more important than ever, as students and families face increasing financial stress. This campaign is about helping our members to identify the small things that can make their college days easier. We’re also encouraging students who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health to avail of college support services. We are delighted to partner with mental health organisations that will help spread the message of this campaign across Ireland.”

Collette Ryan, of HeadsUp said: “HeadsUp is delighted to be a partner once again in the development of the USI Mental Health pack. The theme ‘What Makes You Smile?’ fits perfectly with HeadsUp’s activities, in particular our ‘Online Skills’ and ‘Acts of Random Kindness’ available on Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can have such a positive impact. We want students to take the time to look at, look for, appreciate and spread acts of random kindness that can put a smile on other peoples’ faces.”

Nigel O’Callaghan, Community Engagement Officer with said: “Promoting the messages that talking is a sign of strength and to reach out if you’re going through a tough time is vital to ensure nobody is left to feel alone. We are encouraging students to address any difficulties or challenges they may face before those difficulties potentially lead to crisis. We know services such as and work because they are delivered online – and online is where young people go for mental health information and support.”

PleaseTalk Forum

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Students’ Union officers and student support staff from colleges across Ireland gathered in Dublin on 2 August 2022 for the third annual PleaseTalk Forum.

The forum, hosted this year by Dublin Institute of Technology’s Students’ Union, provides the PleaseTalk mental health campaign with the ideal opportunity to engage incoming and current welfare officers and staff on strategies to develop PleaseTalk on respective campuses.

Jerry Buttimer TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children delivered the keynote address at this year’s forum. Commenting on the event, Deputy Buttimer pointed out that “everybody comes with a story to tell. It is important that each one of us talk, speak to someone and actively communicate either in person or on line.  Support is available to students.”

Supporters of PleaseTalk at the forum

Save the date

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Please talk forum 2 August 2022

PleaseTalk Forum 2012

The PleaseTalk forum is on Thursday, 2 August 2012. This year the theme is and the challenges of student finance. Jerry Buttimer TD from Cork is the keynote speaker.

Where and when

The event will be hosted at DIT Aungier Street, Dublin 2, from 10.00 - 16.00 with lunch provided.

For more information or to register mail [email protected].

Who you talked to

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of, in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland, we asked you to share your story of ‘Who Did You Talk To?’ when you went through a tough time.

Sign of strength

We want to show everyone talking is a sign of strength. This was an opportunity to inspire other young people to open up to someone if they’re struggling with a problem in college, at work, or in their personal lives.


Short videos from those who submitted entries describe the people they  talked to when they went through a tough time are available to view here:

Fifth anniversary of

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

On Friday, 27 April at the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, celebrated it’s fifth anniversary with President Michael D Higgins and other distinguished guests and friends of

How it began

PleaseTalk launched in 2007 in UCD in response to the deaths of a number of students by suicide. By March 2008 it had been adopted by all of the universities in the Republic of Ireland and extended into Northern Ireland in November 2011.

What is PleaseTalk?

The objectives of Please Talk are twofold:
  • Firstly, the campaign has a core message that “talking is a sign of strength”. This encourages students to talk to someone if they’re going through a tough time.
  • Secondly, the PleaseTalk website highlights the extensive supports available to students on their respective campuses throughout the island of Ireland, as well as other external information and services.

PleaseTalk today

PleaseTalk is currently delivered by the Inspire Foundation and funded by the HSE through the National Office for Suicide Prevention.


Commenting on its support of PleaseTalk Catherine Brogan, Acting Director for the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention said, “We have been a firm supporter of this initiative since its inception. It is a huge achievement to see how the PleaseTalk campaign has grown to become a National initiative. This campaign supports the key messages of the National Mental Health Campaign in relation to ‘talking to someone when times are tough, listening to someone in distress and stressing the importance of seeking help early’. It also promotes the message that ‘you are not alone’ and that there is help and support available”.
Today, PleaseTalk is an All-Ireland initiative present in 34 campuses across 32 counties with the potential to reach 500, 000 students letting them know that “talking is a sign of strength”.