Minister Mitchell O’Connor gives closing address at conference on Mental Health in Higher Education

Minister of State with special responsibility for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor today (25th April 2019) gave the closing address at a conference on Mental Health in Higher Education – Personal Wellbeing for Professional Development. Chaired by Dr. Patricia Frazer and hosted in the Dublin Business School, the conference was organised by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning.

The Minister said, “We must all work on the stigma associated with mental health. The transition from one education context to another is a critical point and many students find the transition challenging. The ability to transition successfully is crucial for their individual development, wellbeing and for the quality of their learning. Lecturers and support staff in higher education institutions have a key role in this transition. The importance of striving to improve health and wellbeing within higher level institutions must continue to be a priority for all stakeholders.”

The Minister added, “I offer my continued support to the ‘Recharge Campaign’, promoted by the Union of Students in Ireland. This initiative aims to empower and encourage students to seek support and take time to recharge their mental health. This service complements the Health Service Executive’s excellent ‘Little Things Campaign’, which focusses on the small things we can all do to protect our own mental health and to support the people we care about.”

Addressing the delegates, the Minister said, “There is one small change that we can all make that will have an immediate effect on our wellbeing, research has proven that a 20 minute walk per day can reduce our stress levels and limit the onset of a number of illnesses – diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease.”

In conclusion the Minister stated, “As Minister of State for Higher Education, and as an educator for many years, I have a keen interest in the promotion of health and wellbeing for all staff and students. I will continue to drive this in the future.”