With the imminent re-launch of Please Talk, Bridget Fitzsimons looks at the history and future of this campaign…
Student life is renowned as one of the best periods of an individual’s life. We study amazing subjects, have parties and meet people we’ll know for the rest of our lives. But what happens if issues pertaining to university life become a bit too much to handle?
In January 2007, a campaign called Please Talk was established in UCD after a number of students from the university took their own lives. A campaign concentrated in UCD, it then went national in 2008. The ethos of Please Talk is summed up in its slogan: ‘Talking is a sign of strength, not of weakness’.
The campaign aims to promote the importance of sharing problems before they become too much for people and desperate students take routes such as suicide. Certain issues are really coming to the forefront of students’ minds due to the recession. Money worries are certainly worrying for many students at the moment as competition for grants reaches new heights. It is for reasons like this that it is vital that students can utilise Please Talk to help them get through the tough times we are all facing.
As there is a wealth of resources for students who feel like things are getting too tough to handle in UCD, it seems as if a campaign like Please Talk is a very valid one. These services can often help bring a student back to a happier place in themselves, and make university seem like a much less stressful place to be. A range of problems can affect students and it seems as if more resources for stressed or depressed students can only be a good thing.
With the funding that the Please Talk development team has received, students should not only expect, but demand, an active and productive effort
Please Talk operates primarily through its website www.pleasetalk.ie. The website has a site for each university that is incorporated with the scheme. The sites provide a range of services, which in UCD range from a Chaplain service to Student Advisors to Niteline. It is vital that these services be heavily publicised for students who feel like they have no one to turn to, when in reality, the UCD campus has many people on hand to help.
No one can deny the good work done by Please Talk. It encouraged students to seek help, and brought the message home that it is perfectly fine to seek help when one is struggling, but after its national launch, one must wonder where Please Talk has disappeared. Far from the message that blanketed our campus in 2007/08, Please Talk seems to have faded considerably from the UCD radar. While no one can deny the relevance of its message and the clear need for it, one must wonder why this essential message is not being shouted across the UCD campus. A website alone cannot convey the importance of the campaign. Further advertisement is vital for the Please Talk campaign to succeed, especially on a nationwide basis. Funds must be utilised to make Please Talk a multimedia campaign, not just a website.
From its humble beginnings in the UCD chaplaincy, Please Talk has become a nationwide and relevant initiative for Ireland’s student body. While feeling a bit down sometimes is normal, struggling constantly is not. It is reassuring for us all that there is a service there that we can rely on should things get tough.
It now stands to those at the helm of Please Talk to keep the campaign in the forefront of the national students’ union officers’ agenda. With the money that was budgeted to the campaign by the HSE, the organisers have the fuel to ensure that this good cause doesn’t fade away into the background. With the funding that the Please Talk development team has received, students should not only expect, but also demand, an active and productive effort. Please talk should be something that every student in a third-level institute is very aware of, only then, will the monies donated to the cause be justified and deserved.