Mental Health Promoted at Student Events

A number of events promoting the importance of mental health awareness were organised by students at IT Sligo recently.  

Rugby Star Quinlan Shares His Experience

Munster rugby star Alan Quinlan visited the Institute as part of the Students’ Union’s Speaking Shows Strength Week, which was organised to promote positive mental health awareness.


Alan, who has suffered from anxiety-related depression for a number of years, spoke about how he has overcome the many challenges he has faced with his mental health and the techniques he uses to maintain a positive outlook.

Paul Smith, Welfare Officer with the Students’ Union, said event was organised to help make students aware that it’s not uncommon to have mental health problems and that help is available; “Depression affects 1 in 5 people and 1 in 4 will experience a mental health problem at some point. It was very encouraging to see people with such a high profile who have personal experience with mental health issues that are willing to come forward and speak about those experiences,” he said.


STOP Suicide Counsellor advises students to ‘listen’ to each other

A counsellor & psychotherapist working with STOP Suicide, a Leitrim-based charity that supports families affected by suicide, advised students at IT Sligo to ‘listen’ to each other at an event organised by students during  ‘Minding Your Mental Health Week’.


Students, lecturers and other members of the college community attended the event addressed by Michelle Fox B.A Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Supervisor & I.A.C.P. R.G.N, which aimed to create awareness of young people’s mental health issues.

Ms Fox advised students and lecturers how to identify signs when people are struggling, and more importantly, how to help. ‘Being there’ and ‘listening in a non judgemental way’ are two of the most important things that can be done for someone who is feeling low, she said.

The event was organised by marketing students Miriam Duffy and Yvonne Sloyan, with the help of their lecturer Emer Ward.

STOP Suicide was founded in 2004 by families who were bereaved by suicide. It’s a community, voluntary body that works to prevent suicide by informing educating and promoting positive suicide prevention policies throughout the west of Ireland. For more information see


Captions for above photographs: 1) Alan Quinlan, Munster Rugby Star with ITSSU Welfare Officer, Paul Smith; 2) From Left to right: Students Yvonne Sloyan and Miriam Duffy; Cilla Horan,  IT Sligo Chaplain; Michelle Fox, STOP Suicide;  Anita Hurst, ITSSU Education Officer; and Emer Ward, lecturer. 

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