Skip directly to content

Mental Health and Services in NUIG

on Thu, 10/06/2016 - 09:55

Mental Health is something that affects everyone of us. Just like we look after our bodies, so too must we be kind to our minds. Stress is a big part of any college student's life and if not managed properly with the right support, it's easy to let it get out of hand. College can be overwhelming sometimes, with assignment deadlines and exams and the like. Throughout your college career and indeed the rest of your life, you will experience ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and bad. While we all enjoy the good times, it is important that we acknowledge the bad times and the feelings that come with them. Knowing how to process these feelings and get through whatever has us down is what good mental health is all about. It is not about being happy 24/7 -  because nobody is, it is about taking life one step at a time and tackling each hurdle as it comes.


As much as it is about the academic side, college is a time for having fun, growing and discovering yourself. As young people, we often feel indestructible, capable of taking on the world, but we need to realise that we are not indestructible, the mind is a fragile thing that needs nurturing. The student life style, even at the best of times, is not nurturing. Stereotypically, it involves a not-so-healthy diet, not enough sleep, not enough exercise and yes, you guessed it, excessive alcohol consumption.  While it is important to let loose and have fun, maybe take these points into consideration:


-Exercise is great for your mental health. Even a short walk in the fresh air can help to clear your head and get those endorphins flowing. Taking 20 minutes out of your day to exercise can make all the difference. Join a Club on campus, not only will you be getting exercise but you meet new people.


-Diet is a key factor in good mental health. Eating well keeps you energised and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you. Consult your doctor or do your own research online if you feel you need to improve your diet.


-Get a good night’s sleep! The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep to function properly. There’s nothing quite like waking up fresh and revived


-Drink sensibly;  alcohol is a depressant. Everybody likes to go out and have fun, but it is important to know your own limit, know when it turns from fun to something else. Look after yourself and your friends when you’re out on the town.


- Talk to friends/family/that randomer sitting at your table in Smokey’s. A problem shared is a problem halved, astonishingly, you’re probably not the first person to be going through whatever is bothering you, people like to help each other!


These are some solid guidelines for keeping your mental health in good shape. However, if you are feeling down in the dumps, feel a little “off form” or just want to chat to somebody to get something off your mind, NUIG has many great facilities that want to help you, all you have to do is ask! Facilities on campus to help you include:


Student Health Unit

Located upstairs in Aras na Mac Leinn, beside the SU, The Student Health Service provides free on-campus medical and psychiatric care to students of the university in a professional, courteous, and confidential manner. They open Monday to Friday, 09:15 to 12:30 and 14:30 to16:30. This is a drop-in service and appointments are allocated on a “first come, first serve” basis.


The Student Counselling Service

You can consult with a member of the NUI Galway counselling service for any issue. They provide skilled listeners who have experience dealing with all the challenges students encounter. Located on 5 Distillery Road, near the AIB Bank on Newcastle Rd, an appointment can be made by just dropping in between 14:00 and 16:00 any week day during the term.


The Chaplians

Located on Distillery Road, the Chaplains provide a spiritual setting and their goal is to promote respect for the dignity of every student on campus. They strive to listen, advise encourage and support.


Mindfulness Classes

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing on one’s awareness of the present. The Mindful Way is a new initiative in NUIG to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. It is lead by a Tibetan monk, Thubten Gelong. It is hoped that our campus will create spaces in which daily practice can be encouraged.


The Students Union Welfare Officer

Daniel Khan, the Vice President – Welfare Officer is always available to provide support and connect you with the appropriate people if you find yourself or a friend in a time of difficulty or uncertainty. Stop into his office in the SU or contact him on 0863853659 or


Mental health week is on from the 5th to the 9th of October. There will be many events taking place around campus this week to encourage students to learn and understand issues surrounding mental health. Societies and the Student Counselling Service will be holding events and workshops to get involved in.

Remember, there is always someone there to help you, you are not alone, and it is ok to not feel ok.


Follow this link for more info on any of these services


A message from a NUIG Student with experience dealing with mental health problems while in college


“You’re not going mad, the people who matter will still love you if you tell them what you’re going through. If you think of the happiest time in your whole life, you acknowledge that although it was great, you won’t always feel that way. And the same is true of your lowest day, it’s just harder to recognise it. If you’re not coping, go and see the health unit on campus. Go and see the counselling service or speak to a lecturer or tutor. Don’t let your mind tell you those services are “not for you”. It’s incredible the amount of people who are willing to help, and asking for help is an art form that is vitally important to learn. You are worth the help. You deserve it. Nothing about dealing with a mental health issue is easy, but it’s certainly not impossible, and you absolutely will come out the other side”