Student Colin Bradley from Mallow, Co Cork, is the main driver behind an initiative at University College Cork he hopes will drive home the message “it’s ok not to feel ok, and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.”
UCC will welcome Cycle Against Suicide to its main campus tomorrow, February 27th, for the launch of the organisation’s University Programme. This will be the first of several such events held throughout the country on third level campuses.
Colin Bradley, a Msc in Government student and Volunteers Officer with Cycle against Suicide, went on to reveal the idea for the University Programme stems from the very successful programme from last year’s cycle, which culminated in a Student Leaders Congress attended by 4000 secondary school students in the RDS in Dublin last month.
"I want university students throughout the country to feel empowered to end this epidemic that is taking over the nation. The launch taking place in UCC this Thursday is a continuation of that effort to reach young people all around Ireland.”
In 2013, the inaugural Cycle attracted 2,500 people on to the roads of Ireland over the course of the two-week trip around the country. The 2014 event will also take in Northern Ireland and organisers are expecting up to 7,000 participants to get on the saddle for some or all of this year’s Cycle.
An information stand on the work of Cycle Against Suicide will be in place on the main campus in UCC from 11am to 3pm this coming Thursday, February 27th. At 3pm, a programme of speakers will begin, featuring Dr Michael Byrne, Head of Student Health at UCC; Marian Browne, from Student Counselling and Development; and David Berry, Welfare Officer with UCC Students’ Union.
Cycle Against Suicide was founded in 2013 by Irish entrepreneur Jim Breen, following his experience working with suicide awareness groups as part of RTE’s Secret Millionaire show. The organisation works to break the stigma associated with open discussion of mental health issues in Ireland, as well as increasing awareness of the supports that are available to those who need them.
Speaking in advance of the event, Cycle Against Suicide CEO Maghnus Collins said: “The tide had started to turn in the battle to break the stigma that surrounds mental health but there is still some way to go yet in making mental health an openly and easily discussed topic of conversation in Ireland. The Student Leaders’ Congress in January was a great way of reaching secondary school pupils and the response we got was phenomenal. Our visit to UCC is just the next step in our attempts to reach as wide an audience as possible.”
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