Wellbeing, wellbeing, wherefore art thou wellbeing?!
Or should it be 'what art thou' because isn't that really the bigger question?
Wellbeing is about taking a holistic approach to feeling good. That means encompassing the seven dimensions of wellness; Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, Environmental, Vocational, Intellectual, and Physical. (Find out more about these here.)
Here at TU Dublin Students' Union, we genuinely care about your wellbeing. That is why our Welfare & Equality team runs various campaigns throughout the year focusing on positive mental, sexual, and physical health, and we also have some really fun events which enhance your social and emotional wellbeing too.
We know that college can be extremely tough for students, and we want you to know we are here for you. Once you are a student here, you are automatically a member of TU Dublin Students' Union.
We are free, confidential and independent from the college.
It's important for us that you feel as though you belong, and we try to foster an environment that does just that. We have a long history of working closely with LGBTQ+ Societies as part of this and, as a result, have a very inclusive union and have been involved in policies to make the campuses more inclusive. We plan on keeping this work moving forward.
We want to make sure ALL students are represented and feel accepted, welcomed and valued, so we are working on deepening relationships with various other societies and clubs to help us with this. We also would love to hear from you on issues important to you.
So… What are we actually doing to enhance your holistic wellbeing during your time in the university??
Your VPs for Welfare & Equality sit on loads of committees related to student welfare issues, such as sexual health, mental health and student wellbeing! Throughout the year, the team have worked on policies for students, such as Gender Expression, Consent policies and International Protection Applicants. We continue this work behind the scenes on a daily!
Our Advice Service is independent, confidential, and of course, free. We can also advise on any general queries you have about college.
To contact us, you can email email@example.com or get in touch with your local VP for Welfare & Equality firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all have 'mental health'; think of it like electricity where you live. It's all wired up and running, but if a fuse goes, it can cause an issue with one area, and if there's a power cut, the whole house is out. If we look after our entire selves (the seven dimensions), we can help prevent negative mental health.
Anxiety is a growing concern among people of all ages and is becoming particularly prevalent in younger people. It is a term that can be confusing as it is generally overused. We all get anxious from time to time. In fact, feeling anxious is perfectly natural and can be a good thing; it is the instinctive part of our brain telling us to be cautious of a perceived threat. HOWEVER, there is a difference between feeling occasionally anxious and having issues with anxiety. Let's be honest; there's A LOT to feel anxious about right now, but continual anxiety, if left untreated, can cause us to feel depressed, withdrawn and isolated. We have some helpful tips here for managing occasional anxiety but ALWAYS speak to a professional if you have serious concerns.
Did you know, as a student in TU Dublin you can access your college counsellor in confidence, and it's FREE. Think of your mental health as the engine of a car. You don't have to wait until it breaks down to get a mechanic to give it a once over; if you want to keep a car running, you occasionally bring it to a garage just for a check-over. So why not do the same with your mental health? Avail of the service and have a check-in when issues start popping up rather than waiting until things get too overwhelming and your 'engine' overheats!
Information for the Student Counselling Service on each campus can be found here.
You can also get in contact in confidence with external services such as::
- Pieta House by calling FREE on 1800 247 247 or texting ‘HELP’ to 51444
- The Samaritans by calling FREE 116 123
- Turn2Me offer peer to peer supports as well as providing free online counselling
- 50808 Is a crisis textline. Text ‘HELLO’ to 50808 to talk to a trained professional NOW.
- Jigsaw provide ongoing support for young people aged 12-25
And more information on mental health supports nationally can be found here.
If you have any concerns or are experiencing negative mental health the key thing is DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE, SPEAK UP!
Your physical health is one of the most important aspects of your overall well being. If your mental health is the 'engine' your physical health IS the car!
Did you know that TU Dublin students can access the Student Health Centre on their campuses? You can make an appointment with the nurse for free and, on some campuses, see a doctor at a reduced cost.
Click for information on the Medical Health Centres in Tallaght, City and Blanchardstown.
Small changes can make a big difference if implemented into our daily lifestyles.
Here are some suggestions we hope could be easily taken up and brought into your daily routine without much inconvenience:
Stand, don't sit (if possible) - Most of us have increased time on the screens, be it for work, study or downtime (be real, how many box sets have you gone through?!) - this means increased time sitting in front of a screen. It is better for your physical health if you can stand instead of sitting for even 5-10 minutes out of each hour you are online. Or, as per Irish Heart Foundation's guidelines, stand up and get active for 1 minute each hour.
- Be Snack Aware! - That's right, we've all been snacking a bit more during our increased screen time. More cups of tea means more biscuits! Fizzy drinks! Crisps! Chocolate! Oh how we love to indulge! But, sometimes, we aren't even aware of how much we are snacking between meals, especially if spending more time at home. An easy way to combat this is to pre-plan your snacks. Literally just a lunchbox or bag put together the night before with a set number of snacks you can choose from can limit the number of times we go wandering to the fridge or press. It can also make you more aware of the kind of things you are snacking on, which leads to the next suggestion.
- Snack right! be snack aware. - Make one change to what you snack on, substitute crisps for nuts / dried fruit for the crunch fix, substitute a fizzy drink for water etc. You might think because your weight is healthy that, you can snack on whatever you like (you can; nobody is stopping you!), but whilst we can see physical changes to our bodies, we can't see what's going on inside. The unhealthy stuff we snack on could contribute to high cholesterol and other issues. Be snack conscious, be snack-wise, make one change and work from there.
- Get more active - Health officials recommend 30 minutes a day for five days or 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. That's a fact. And we don't disagree. However, we do understand this may seem daunting or undoable to some people. What we suggest is to start simple and do what YOU CAN DO. Don't think, "I need to get healthy, so I need to go run 10k", because that's just not going to work, and it will demotivate you. Start with simple and achievable goals. Go for a walk for 10-30 minutes, depending on what you can personally manage. As you implement this into your routine, it WILL get easier, and who knows, you could be running that 10k sooner than you think!
- On yer Bike! - Cycling is a fun way to get fit and healthy. You may already have a bike, but if not, did you know if you are working, many employers offer a "Bike to work" scheme, which can be used to purchase a bike and equipment. If not, you can find good offers on buy & sell sites on second-hand bikes*, and many local bike shops also offer this. Cycling can be a healthy alternative to public transport or can just get you out of the house being active for a while.
* Be cautious when buying 2nd hand bikes from people as they may be stolen. Please do your research, always try to meet the person at their house, maybe ask for a glass of water as proof they have access to the house they meet you at.
Increasing your physical health can have really positive impacts on your overall wellbeing, and can really increase positive mental health.
For loads more information and advice on physical health click here.
Your sexual health is so important. Positive, healthy, sexual relationships are a good thing.
On that note, do you know what's REALLY sexy?? CONSENT. Consent is sexy!
You should be able to avail of SMART consent training as part of your orientation for incoming first years. If, for some reason, you miss this or wish to avail of it, please contact us, and we will try to arrange additional training for you / your class group.
Consent is not this big scary thing that has to be so awkward and uncomfortable. Consent is OMFG! Ongoing, mutual, freely given. So basically, just keep checking in with yourself and your partner, "Does this feel ok" "Are you ok to keep going" "I like this". If a person is drunk, passed out or asleep, they CAN'T consent, even if they previously consented; it no longer applies! Mind yourself - do only what you feel happy and comfortable with; mind your partner - do only what they are happy and comfortable with, and you will have much better sexual experiences.
Did you know your college nurse and Students' Unions give condoms and lube out for free?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. HIV-negative people take PrEP before having sex (pre-exposure) and after sex to prevent HIV (this is called a prophylaxis). For more information on PrEP, click here.
If your mental health is the car's engine, and your physical health is the car itself, your sexual health is the accelerator, breaks and gears! And, just like the engine and the bodywork, they also need the occasional check-up!
You can speak to your campus Student Health Centre about any sexual health concerns or arrange an STI test (there may be a fee depending on your campus).
Click for information on the Student Health Centres in Tallaght, City and Blanchardstown.
SH:24 is a free home STI testing available in every county across Ireland. Anyone who is aged 17 or over can order a free STI test to their home or to any other valid postal address in Ireland. There are a set number of kits available each day. If there are no more kits available when you try and order, please try again the next morning. Click here to order off the SH:24 website.
If you experience an unplanned pregnancy, you may go through a wide range of positive and negative emotions, which is totally normal.
It might be a good idea to talk confidently to the campus counsellor.
Information for the Student Counselling Service on each campus can be found here.
You can also speak to the nurse for free and in confidence.
Click for information on the Medical Health Centres in: Tallaght, City and Blanchardstown.
You can phone the ‘my options’ helpline for free and in confidence on 1800 828 010 for information and advice on ALL YOUR OPTIONS.
There is a lot of information on unplanned pregnancy here, and it also provides advice, information and support for fathers and partners in an unplanned pregnancy situation.
If you want information on abortion, click here.
Sexual Violence and Harrassment
We know from the Sexual Experiences Survey that many third-level students may experience some form of unwanted sexual advances, sexual assault or rape.
We also know that many people choose not to tell anyone for many different reasons. We also know from research that many people, if / when they do tell someone, it can be a massive relief and aid in healing.
If you experience any form of sexual misconduct, assault or rape, you can speak in contact with the college counsellor or nurse in confidence using the details above.
You can also contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) 24/7 on freephone at 1800778888