August 2013

Month Archives



“Harassment may be defined as behaviour which is unwelcome, intimidating or offensive to the recipient and which the perpetrator knows, or should know, is unwanted. It can take the form of a verbal, physical or psychological attack, and can be openly aggressive or subtly hidden. Sometimes harassment may involve repeated and persistent.”

This is taken from a pamphlet launched by the University this year entitled “Harassment and Sexual Harassment – Advice to Students and Staff”. The Students’ Union supports this pamphlet and with the University is committed to the principle that every student and staff member is entitled to study and work in an environment free from harassment and sexual harassment.

Harassment and sexual harassment may constitute a criminal offence, and if you feel you are a victim of either please contact the Students’ Union officers listed below. Copies of the policies on anti-bullying and harassment are available from the Library and the Students’ Union.

Sexual Harassment can include:
Physical – Unnecessary touching, pinching or brushing against another, assaults, coercing sexual intercourse
Verbal – Unwelcome sexual advances, demands for sexual favours, suggestive remarks,innuendoes or lewd comments.
Non-Verbal – Displays of pronographic, or sexually suggestive pictures and objects;leering,whistling or sexually suggestive gestures.

If you encounter sexual harassment in the Universtiy, you may report it to your dean,head of department,the registrar, Student Services or the Students’ Union Vice-President/Welfare Officer
You can also see the student counsellors in confidence and free of charge.

Useful Contacts:
Galway Gay Helpline (091) 566134 (8pm – 10pm Tuesday and Thursday)
Galway Lesbian Helpline (091) 546611 (8pm – 10pm Wednesday)
Galway Rape Crisis 1800 355355 Freephone
An Garda Síochána (091) 538000 or for emergencies dial 999/112
Garda Liasions (091) 538079 Vincent Jennings/Ciara Moran
Student Counsellors (091) 492484
Vice-President/Welfare Officer (091) 524810 extn. 2747
Equality Officer (091) 524810
TENI (transgender equality network) 0851477166

Contact the Equality Officer or Welfare Officer for further assistance



‘Students with disabilities’ refers to students who have any disability whether physical, sensorial, developmental, psychological or hidden (such as diabetes, asthma and/or cystic fibrosis). It is important that we realise that the demands of people with disabilities are not about exceptions or special treatment, but about the fulfillment of rights, especially the right to fully participate.
The right to participate has been denied to many students with disabilities through the lack of facilities available in many 3rd level colleges. Fortunately colleges, including NUI Galway, are becoming more aware of their obligations towards students with disabilities and are taking steps to make colleges more accessible.
If you are a student with a disability and would like to find out more about the facilities available, or let us know what facilities should be made available in this college that would be of benefit to you and other students with disabilities, please contact one of the following.

For more information, contact the Vice-President/Welfare Officer



Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth , invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize.Cancer affects people at all ages with the risk for most types increasing with age.

The most common are:

A cancer diagnosis is made only after certain tests are done. Most people begin by visiting their family doctor (GP) because they are worried about a particular symptom. This could be a lump, weight loss or feeling very tired . If your doctor is concerned about you, he or she will refer you to a hospital. There you will see a specialist who may arrange further tests.

If you are worried and need advice/someone to talk to there is plenty of support available such as The Irish Cancer Society, The Marie Keating Foundation and Lymphoma Support Ireland. Rememer your friends and family are there to help so talk to them too.

Further Information
For more information, contact the Vice-President / Welfare Officer

Your Mental Health


Helping Yourself and Helping Others

Mental Health Week Oct 1st – 5th – Check out our timetable of events

We each have moments when we allow things to pile up on top of us and get us down. It can be anything from stress, a bad break-up, depression or something worse. We often neglect our mental well-being in favour of our physical health. The thing that we need to realise is that without good mental health, then there is no good physical health. When a friend seems low, it is important to let them know you care. One way to help is to go for a walk together. It may seem simple, but it helps make a connection. If your friend is falling behind in college then you need to have a frank discussion of what they need to do and what you can do to help them.
The most important thing that you can do for your friend is tell them about the help that is available to them in the University. Also offer to go with them to look for help. Should you be interested in doing a suicide prevention course then check out our Life Skills – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training page

The most important thing that we all need to know is that no matter the problem, be it Stress, Depression, an Eating Disorder, Suicide or Drugs there is help available out there.

Getting Help on Campus

Student Counselling Service

The Student Counselling service is located at No.5 Distillery Rd and the Chaplains are located in St. Declan’s on Distillery Rd.

The counselling service on offer to students and whatever the problem you can turn to one of the University Counsellors for help. There is no area of concern to students which falls outside the scope of the student counsellors. They deal with every conceivable problem including:

  • Coping with personal loss, grief

  • Sexual conflicts

  • Shyness and loneliness

  • Uncertainty about personal worth

  • Other personal problems

The counsellors are trained professionals who can help people with work related stress; study problems, concentration difficulties,examination anxiety,loneliness,shyness,coping with personal loss,grief,sexual conflicts,uncertainty about personal worth or other personal problems. There is also a specialist drugs and alcohol counsellor.Nobody will know that you are seeing a counsellor unless you choose to tell them.

The Chaplains

The Chaplains support and give expression to the University’s commitment to the development of the whole person, mind, body and soul. The Chaplains listen, respect and respond. They can mediate with University authorities and outside agencies as well as liaising with academic Colleges and departments when appropriate. They are involved in the provision of a range of activities which seek to encourage reflection, maturity, self-reliance and personal responsibility. They are also responsible for the College Chapel which is an oasis of hospitality and welcome in the midst of a busy campus.

If you are not comfortable speaking to someone on campus, you can contact the Students’ Union Vice-President/Welfare Officer who can speak to the person and ask to get you an appointment with someone else. Whatever the problem don’t worry about it on your own. Get some help and support and don’t forget the service is absolutely confidential, free and there are no formalities.

Vice-President/Welfare Officer
Students’ Union
(091) 524810 extn. 2747
Student Health Unit
Áras na Mac Léinn
(091) 492604
Emergencies: (087) 2623997
Student Counsellors
No.5 Distillery Rd
(091) 524411 etn. 2482
Student Chaplains
St. Declan’s, Distillery Rd
(091) 49500

If you would be more comfortable talking to someone outside the University, all of these contacts will put you in touch with external counsellors and/or health professionals. However, these may be expensive.

You can also phone the Samaritans: (091) 561222 or Lo Call 1850 609090 who offer a non-judgmental, non-directive and confidential listening service for persons going through difficulty in their life.

Your Mental Health – Stress


The best way to beat stress is by doing something you enjoy. Always make sure you set time aside to relax and do something for yourself. Winding down and taking a break is important. It is standard maintenance, the same way you eat to counter hunger you need to relax to counter stress. There are countless ways to relax and different methods suit different people. Be careful not to turn to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs if you’re feeling frustrated as this can lead to dependence. If you do smoke, attempted to quit will only make you more irritable.

Your mind can be it’s own worst enemy when you are stressed, so why not try a few simple steps:

  • Believe in yourself
  • Base expectations on your own performance and experiences;
  • Make a check-list for the day’s goals (making sure the targets are realistic and achievable)
  • Do your best because that’s all you can do.
  • Exams have a beginning and an end, and the stress that goes along with them should end with the exam. When an exam is over, don’t go over it again just move on
  • A failed exam doesn’t mean that you’re a failure.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try talking to a friend or family member.

Take some time to relax

  • Listen to some music
  • Go for a walk or a run
  • Punch a pillow
  • Get a nice warm drink and sit down for a few minutes
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Get some exercise

If stress ever gets too much you can talk to one of the chaplains, counsellors, Student Health Unit staff or to the Students’ Union Vice-President / Welfare Officer.

Your Mental Health – Depression


What is Depression?

Depression is a common disorder affecting at least 10% of the population directly at some stage or other in their lives. Everybody gets feelings of sadness or depression and for most these are short-lived and tolerable. We all feel down at times, that is normal. however, if the feeling is persisting for more than 2 weeks then maybe you need some support. It is possible you are suffering from depression. This common illness affects a huge number of young people.

It affects your thoughts, felings, physical health and behaviour day after day. As it is so common, extensive support services have been developed and are available for you when you need them. Using the available services is not a sign of weakness.

Depression is not caused by any one factor. Some life conditions such as extreme stress or grief may act as a trigger. Sometimes depresion can occur even when life is going well. Depression can affect anyone!
If depression goes untreated, it may become worse and there is a risk that the person may turn to alcohol and drugs to try and escape from the distressing feelings. This could increase the risk of suicide dramatically.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

People who suffer from depression have a number of symptoms nearly every day, all day for at least two weeks. These always include five or more of the following list and at least one of the first two.

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling sad, depressed
  • Sleep
  • Aggressive or negative behaviour
  • Boredom
  • Change of appetite
  • Social withdrawal
  • Slowness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Physical symptoms
  • Suicidal
  • Delusions

If you have five or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks it is likely that you have depression and should consult your GP immediately. If you think you may suffer from depression it is advisable to talk to someone as soon as possible. Talking to a trusted friend, a parent, a doctor or medical professional will be a step in the right direction towards recovery.
Remember the majority of cases can be treated successively but early intervention will increase the chances of success significantly.


Aware is a voluntary organisation formed in 1985 by a group of interested patients, relatives and mental health professionals, whose aims are to assist that section of the population whose lives are directly affected by depression.
Since its foundation, Aware has been working energetically to bring support to sufferers of depression and their families and to dispel the myths and misunderstandings of this devastating illness.

Aware Helpline
Locall 1890 303 302 (24 Hours)


HeadsUp is a mental health promotion project which aims to contribute to suicide prevention efforts by providing timely, appropriate information and support to young people. The project provides a wide range of initiatives aimed primarily at 15-24 year olds. However there are a number of secondary targets that includes community groups, fathers and workplaces. HeadsUp has an interactive website with features and fact-sheets.

Please Talk

Please Talk is a campaign that began in University College Dublin in February 2007 in response to the death by suicide of a student. In March 2008 it was adopted by all the Universities in the State.
It is organised to alert students at Universities in the Republic of Ireland to the varied and manifold important student services that are available in their University. The site provides information on supports on different campuses.




People who talk about it don’t commit suicide.
Suicidal people are absolutely intent upon dying.
Once a person becomes suicidal, he/she is suicidal forever.
After a crisis, improvement means that the suicide risk is over.
Suicide occurs mainly among the rich/poor.
Suicidal behaviour is a sign of mental illness.
You are either the suicidal type or you’re not.


Most people who kill themselves have given definite warnings of their intention.
Most suicidal people are ambivalent about living and dying; they gamble with death but may retain the desire to live.
Suicidal people often give indications of thoughts (sometimes before the thoughts become intentions) by words or actions.
Suicidal thoughts may return, but they are not permanent, and in some people, they may never return.
Many suicides occur in a ‘period of improvement’ when the person has the energy and the will to turn despairing thoughts into self-destructive action.
Suicide occurs in all groups in society.
Suicidal behaviour indicates deep illness, unhappiness but not necessarily mental illness. It could happen to anybody.

Signs of Suicidal Intent

Suicide risk is greater where there is:

  • Recent loss or the break up of a close relationship.
  • Current or anticipated unhappy change in health or circumstances, e.g. retirement or financial problems.
  • Painful and/or disabling physical illness.
  • Heavy use of, or dependency on alcohol or other drugs.
  • History of earlier suicidal behaviour.
  • History of suicide in the family.
  • Depression.

People often show their suicidal feelings by:

  • Being withdrawn and unable to relate.
  • Having definite ideas of how to commit suicide, and maybe speaking of tidying up affairs, or giving other indications of planning suicide.
  • Talking about feeling isolated and lonely.
  • Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness, hopelessness or loss of self esteem.
  • Constantly dwelling on problems for which there seem to be no solutions.
  • Expressing the lack of supporting philosophy of life, such as a religious belief.

Getting Help

If you know anybody who you think might be contemplating suicide, talk to them and try to convince them to see somebody from the Health Unit, one of the counsellors, chaplains or the Students’ Union Welfare Officer.

Chaplains & Student Counsellors
Áras de Brún
Extension 2484
(091) 750377

Welfare Officer
Students’ Union, Áras na Mac Léinn.
Extension 2747
(086) 3853659

Student Health Unit
Áras na Mac Léinn
Extension 2604
(091) 750451
(087) 2623997 – emergencies after 5pm

The service provided by the above is free and is totally confidential.

Eating Disorders



What Are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are complex, life threatening conditions from which people can and do get better with appropriate treatment. Eating disorders can affect anyone. They can be seen as a way of coping with unmanageable feelings.

The term “eating disorder” refers to a group of conditions characterised by:

  • Severe disturbances in eating
  • Emotional and psychological distress
  • Physical consequences

People experiencing an eating disorder share many of the following features:

  • They are likely to have dieted
  • Self-esteem is low
  • There is a marked over-concern with body shape, weight and size and obsession with food
  • Thinness is seen as a magical solution to problems while weight gain is feared
  • The person affected is likely to have difficulty identifying and expressing their real needs
  • They may view their body as larger than it actually is (distorted body image)
  • They may have problems around control
  • They may have found it hard to talk about their feelings and to deal with conflict
  • They may be depressed and may become isolated
  • They may experience mood swings

The disordered eating can take various forms, from fasting (self starvation) to consuming vast quantities
of food beyond what the body needs to satisfy its hunger (bingeing). Excessive exercising or self-induced
vomiting, the use of laxatives or diuretics are used to avoid weight gain (purging). All of these behaviours, sustained over time, will have a serious effect on both physical and emotional health.Because the behaviour of a person with an eating disorder revolves around food and eating, eating disorders are often mistakenly believed to be primarily about food. It is important to realise that the behaviour around eating is an outward sign of emotional distress. It may be the only way the person has of communicating their distress. Treatment of an eating disorder will therefore require attention to both the physical and the psychological aspects of the condition.

Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by a significant weight loss resulting from excessive dieting. Most women and an increasing number of men are motivated by the strong desire to be thin and a fear of becoming obese.Anorexics consider themselves to be fat, no matter what their actual weight is. Often anorexics do not recognise they are underweight. In their attempts to become even thinner, the anorexic will avoid food andtaking in calories at all costs, which can result in death. Anorexics usually have low self-esteem and sometimes feel they don’t deserve to eat. The anorexics usually deny that anything is wrong.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by a cycle of binge eating followed by purging to try and rid the body ofunwanted calories. A binge is different for all individuals. For one person a binge may range from 1000to 10000 calories, for another, one cookie may be considered a binge. Purging methods usually involvevomiting and laxative abuse. Other forms of purging can involve excessive exercise, fasting, use of diuretics,diet pills and enemas. Bulimics are usually people that do not feel secure about their own self worth. They usually strive for the approval of others. They tend to do whatever they can to please others, while hiding their own feelings. Food becomes their only source of comfort. Bulimia also serves as a function for blocking or letting out feelings.

Binge Eating Disorder is characterised by consuming large quantities of food in a very short period of time until the individual is uncomfortably full. Binge eating disorder is much like bulimia except the individuals do not use any form of purging (i.e. vomiting, laxatives, fasting, etc.) following a binge. The person who binge-eats is therefore likely to put on considerable amounts of weight over time. Like all eating disorders, binge eating is a serious problem but can be overcome through proper treatment. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, binge eating is thought to be almost as common among men as it is among women. It is believed that the number of people who binge-eat far exceeds the number who present for treatment. Compulsive overeating is characterised by uncontrollable eating and consequent weight gain. Compulsive overeaters use food as a way to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and daily problems. The food can block out feelings and emotions.

Why might a person develop an eating disorder?
There is no single cause, which can explain why a person develops an eating disorder. It is usually a combination of factors (biological, psychological, familial and socio-cultural) that come together to create conditions in which an eating disorder is more likely to take hold. The disorder often develops gradually as a response to an upset in a person’s life. This could be a traumatic event, a loss or major change in a person’s life, bullying or critical comments about weight or shape. The distress they feel will relate not only to the current upset but also to a store of past upsets they have never been able to express. A person without a strong sense of who they are and who is concerned with meeting the standards and expectations of others is more vulnerable. This explains why eating disorders occur so often during adolescence when identity is an issue, the opinion of peers is so important and parental expectations are resisted. Eating disorders occur in societies that promote thinness as a means of achieving health, success and happiness. Dieting has been proven to be an important risk factor in the development of eating disorders.Eating disorders do not start out as a conscious choice and are not a wilful form of ‘attention seeking’.

A few words about recovery
It is precisely because the eating disorder serves a purpose that it becomes very difficult to stop its progress. The longer it is established, the more it will take on a life of its own and take over the life of the person affected. They are caught in a bind. For many, overwhelming feelings of helplessness, guilt, shame and self-disgust become an insurmountable block to seeking help. Recovery is about taking responsibility, establishing one’s own boundaries and accepting those of others. It can only begin with the will to change. It will require commitment and it will take a lot of courage. It cannot be forced.Much sensitivity, compassion, respect, understanding and patience will be needed by the family, friends, G.P. and other members of the treatment team if a person is to be successfully encouraged and supported on their journey towards recovery.

Further Information
For more information, check the Mirror Mirror website or BodyWhys or contact the Vice-President / Welfare Officer



The back inside cover of this diary explains what rubbish goes in what bin but you may find you have some bottles and cans lying around at some stage too. Throwing them in the bottle bank can be highly therapeutic. Just don’t go when you’ve a hangover!


These are the handiest recycling centres:

Beside Áras na Mac Léinn on campus Dyke Road car park
Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road City Council Depot, Liosbaun Industrial Estate
Toft Park Salthill (beside the aquarium) Dun Aengus Dock Road
Dunnes Stores, Terryland Joyce’s Supermarket, Knocknacarra
Dunnes Stores, Westside, Raven’s Terrace (near the fire station)

Dirty Laundry


If you don’t want all of your underwear to turn pink or your favorite trousers to end up like hot pants, then you’ll need to sort out your washing. The easiest thing to do is to put all of your laundry in the centre of the floor and fling them into separate piles: whites & lights, delicates, and dark colours.

Before washing

Make sure to check all of the pockets for stray tissues, receipts, cash or the hot blonde’s number on the Supermacs napkin. If you don’t, you’ll be left with lovely little white bits all over your clothes and you could end up damaging the machine.
If you are unsure of what type of wash the clothes should be in, check for the following on
the labels:

The number in the wash tub shows the most effective wash temperature in degrees Celsius

Do not wash

Do not machine wash. Hand wash only

Top tip

Turn jeans/cords/jumpers and textured fabric inside out – this reduces bobbles and fading.


If you notice a stain, you should wash it as soon as possible with cold water. Hot water seals stains. If the stain is very bad, then you’re probably better off leaving it to soak overnight. Also, if your clothes are really bad, e.g. training gear, then you should probably wash this
separately. If there are several sporty people in the house, do one wash for all the gear. It saves water, powder and electricity.

How much powder?

If you check the back of the box, there’s normally a recommended dosage. If you use tablets, it’s generally two tablets for a full wash and one for a half wash. To save electricity, you should check with housemates if they have anything they’d like washed. However, be warned that you could get into trouble if something goes wrong. Don’t be stingy with the powder: if you are, your clothes won’t be cleaned properly; if you use too much. the powder may not rinse out completely and this may irritate your skin or leave white marks on the clothes.

Temperatures and loads

The easiest way to choose which cycle you should use is to read all of them carefully and always opt for the lowest temperature on the labels. As a general guide:

  • The non-coloured fast cycle (40 degrees) is normally the best cycle for dark and vibrant colours, as well as washable woollens. It’s probably the most used cycle as it tends to be the safest.
  • Whites and delicates are normally mentioned in another of the cycles which tends to be a high temperature.
  • If you have a heavy duty stain, then you’re better off using one of the cold cycles. You should check with the list of cycles on your washing machine.
  • Don’t overload the washing machine; it will not clean your clothes fully and there’s a higher risk of colours running.

Post wash

Put clothes into the dryer or hang them up immediately because if they are left too long they’ll start to smell, get covered in mildew, end up very creased and you’ll have to wash them all over again.


Always check the heat on the labels when using tumble dryers. Like washing, you should keep colours and whites separate as the dyes may still run. Delicates may be damaged at high heats and some items may shrink. Don’t overload the dryer or the clothes will not dry! The symbols below indicate whether or not an item can be tumble dried, and also indicate the heat setting.

Tumble dry on normal setting Do not tumble dry


The number of dots in the ironing symbol indicates the correct temperature setting – the fewer the dots the cooler the setting. Your iron will usually have matching symbols.

Hot Do not iron
Warm Do not use steam