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Mind Your Mind
Thankfully, mental health awareness has become more prominent in recent years. The good news is that there are various places to go for help. Just remember its perfectly fine to say, ‘I’m not ok.’ It takes courage and strength to say you need support, but no one will ever judge you for seeking it, they are there to help.
Here are some examples of feelings and issues that students experience from time to time; Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Low Self-esteem, Peer pressure, Bullying, Addictions and Suicidal thoughts.
If you are suffering from mental ill health such as depression, anxiety or simply not feeling yourself, tell a trusted friend or parent, your GP or Student Services as soon as you can…
Sexual health is an important part of our lives, regardless of sexual orientation, age, race or gender. It’s crucial to stay safe and only engage in sexual activities that you are happy with.
If you are having sex, it is important to make sure that you are protecting yourself from STI’s and unplanned pregnancy. Contraceptives can be used in varying methods and what works for you will depend on your personal preferences.
Your options can be discussed with a doctor or nurse, be it your personal GP, the college nurse or the nearby family planning clinic.
Sexually transmitted Infections are those passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual contact. The only contraceptive method that protects one from STI’s are condoms. That is why is it always recommended to use a condom while partaking in sexual intercourse.
The most commonly diagnosed STI’s are Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Genital Warts and Genital Herpes. If you have had unprotected sex, and whether you have or haven’t got symptoms, it’s healthy to get tested regularly.
Testing is carried out at Galway STI Clinic – University College Hospital Number to ring is 091 542294. There is a walk-in clinic available also. www.sexualwellbeing.ie
If you have had unprotected sex and think you may be pregnant, take a pregnancy test as soon as possible. Try not to panic. There are plenty of support mechanisms within the college to help you with your next step. Your Welfare Officer or Student Services are ready to help, just pop down. www.myoptions.ie
Sex should be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. This means saying NO if you uncomfortable or simply don’t want to take part. A person cannot give consent if they are asleep or unconscious, drunk or high, threatened or forced.
Every person has the right to say no and to withdraw consent at any time. If you feel someone has forced you to do something of a sexual nature that you didn’t want to do, you should speak to someone you trust and also contact your Welfare Officer or Student Services as soon as possible. Both services provide a safe and confidential place for you to open up and discuss your concerns at your pace. www.B4uDecide.ie
Bullying; Emotional, Physical & Sexual Abuse
Throughout your time in college, you or someone you know may encounter abuse be it sexual emotional and/or physical. Abuse can occur in college, at work, in friends & relationships, family or from a stranger. It’s important to remember should any encounter to abuse, big or small take place that your aware of the support available to you provided by student services and your welfare officer.
Sexual abuse is when someone does sexual things towards you, or you are forced to take part in a sexual act that you don’t want to do or have not agreed to. This is called rape or sexual assault. An abuser is the person who sexually assaults you. An abuser could be a stranger, a person you know and trust, a friend, a colleague, a partner, neighbour or family.
Physical abuse is another form of bullying, where an individual or group purposely hurt another person by causing injury and harm such as bruises, broken/fractured bones, burns or cuts. It can come in the form of being slapped, hit, kicked, poisoned, burned or having objects thrown at you. Physical abuse it one of the more visible signs of abuse and often begins as something small but can spiral out of control.
Emotional abuse is defined as ongoing emotional mistreatment or neglect of an individual, it is also known as a form of bullying or psychological abuse and can seriously damage an individual’s emotional well-being. It can range from deliberately scaring, threatening, ignoring or humiliating an individual. Emotional abuse can involve; rejection, absence of comfort, love, attachment, inappropriate punishment and possessiveness.
Abuse during your college years
A person’s time in college teaches them a lot about themselves. It also is a time in one’s life where a lot of relationships are formed both sexual and platonic. Unfortunately, some students may encounter negative relationships where sexual, emotional and physical abuse is involved.
Should you or any other student experience this type of abuse, please be aware of the supports available to you.
Student Counselling Service
Call: 091 742118
Visit: Room 162
Student Medical Service
GMIT Student Health Unit (in the SU)
Student Welfare Officer
Call: 083-446 1484
Visit: Office in the SU beside Student Health office.
Gender & Sexuality Explained
A person’s biological sex is the term used to describe what you are assigned at birth; sex is defined by a person’s genitals when born. However, as we progress and grow some people have differing sexual Identities to their original sex.
‘Gender Identity’ describes how someone feels on the inside and ‘Gender Expression’ describes how someone presents their gender to the world.
Some common genders:
- Cisgender is a person who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Transgender is a person whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Non-binary is when a person does not associate themselves with any/a particular gender.
- Gender Fluid is a person whose gender identity is not fixed.
If you are LGBT+ and are having difficulties in coming out there are plenty of supports and guidance available on campus. When you are coming to terms with your sexuality it can be helpful to talk it over with someone who has experienced it before. There is an active LGBT+ society at GMIT and it is a very welcoming, safe place for you to join and express yourself in a way you are comfortable with.
For further information see www.lgbt.ie
Sexualities refers to one’s expressions through sexual activities and relationships. Ones sexuality is represented through feelings, behaviour and your sexual identity. Some people like to label their sexuality others don’t.
Some common sexualities:
- Heterosexual is when a person is attracted to those of the opposite sex.
- Homosexual is when a person is attracted to those of the same sex.
- Bisexual refers to a person’s attraction to more than one gender.
- Asexual in most cases is an absence of sexual attraction.
- Aromantic in most cases is an absence of romantic attraction.
- Pansexual, ‘Pan’ is where a person is attracted to multiple genders, based on chemistry over gender.
- Questioning is where some are unsure of their sexuality.
Pronouns are important when talking about someone’s gender identity. Some people like to identify by he, she or they. If someone asks you to call them by a particular pronoun, it’s important to respect their wishes. If unsure, always politely ask.
9 tips after 9
- Do not walk alone at night. Walk in numbers
- When at all possible stick to busy streets with lots of lighting & traffic, avoid quiet shortcuts
- Avoid talking on your mobile or listening to an iPod, as both will make you less aware of your surroundings and while doing so you are advertising that you have something valuable worth stealing
- If you feel your being followed, go somewhere busy and flag down a taxi
- Always make sure someone knows when you’re going out, who you’re going with and when/if you’re coming back.
- Only use licensed taxis and hackneys. Take note of the taxi license number, by saving it in your phone or sending to a friend.
- Always be aware of who’s around you when using an ATM. Avoid ATMs on isolated streets especially at night.
- Walk confident with authority, anything less will make you appear vulnerable
- Ask the taxi driver not to leave until you are in home safe
Student Vices & Addiction
College life opens up many new experiences for students. Experiences that can bring forth addictions to alcohol, drugs, smoking, porn and gambling.
Burdened with the pressure of college life, these hobbies can seem like an easy ‘escape’ to relieve the stress of college life mentally or financially.
However, in the long run these escapes have a bigger financial and mental effect on students’ lives.
If you are struggling to reduce your intake of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or need to cut down on money and time spent on porn or gambling reach out. GMIT provides you with support through your welfare officer and through the counsellors in Student Services…
Tel: +353 94 9043109
Tel: +353 91 742264