Professor Siobhán O’Neill backs Magee students’ drive for mental health action

Students at Magee and across the north have created a mental health action plan to demand better outcomes for students.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 11:21 am
Professor Siobhán O'Neill.

The plan stems from students feeling they have been left out of policy documents, says the Ulster University Students’ Union (UUSU), which is driving the campaign with the support of the NUS-USI and other unions.

Professor Siobhán O’Neill, Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, supports the campaign. She said: “The transition to college or university should be an exciting time, a time of opportunity, however too many students find it overwhelmingly stressful and the new environment can bring pressure that has a mental health impact. It is vital that we nurture our students and support them to flourish, and this means raising awareness, having the right services and structures to promote wellbeing and treatments to help those who are struggling.

“I very much welcome the Student Mental Health Action Plan, it is a vision and plan for awareness, prevention and excellent support services. Its implementation would undoubtedly lead to an improvement in student wellbeing, which will translate into a stronger more confident graduate population, who will be best placed to make NI a better, brighter place.”

UUSU President, Collette Cassidy, said: “Over the last few years we have witnessed how mental health has impacted on our society, particularly the student population. We are in the middle of a mental health crisis with Covid-19 exacerbating it even further. We have faced no bigger test on our mental health than we have this year.”

She said it was time for action stating: “There is no better place to start then with the introduction of our Student Mental Health Action Plan.”