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Mind Your Mind
In recent years, mental health awareness has made tremendous strides. At ATU Galway-Mayo SU, we are dedicated to spreading awareness of mental health issues.
Students are faced with many issues during their college term and so this is a large part of your student experience.
With all the unknown challenges facing you, it is easy to have negative thoughts, feelings or experiences.
It might not be easy to ask for help or say the words ‘I’m not okay’. It takes courage to admit you need help to people around you who are not experiencing the same things, but no one will ever judge you for asking for support.
The SU are here to help point you in the right direction.
No matter how big or small the problem, a problem shared is still a problem halved.
If you are suffering from mental health issues or just feeling a but down and blue, try telling a close trusted friend or family member, a GP or a member of student services.
And remember, the SU door is always open
With the changing times of society, sexual health is a more important part of our lives than ever before. This is regardless of sexual orientation, age, race or gender.
Although you may only be engaging in sexual activities that you are happy with, others may be doing the same, but some may be doing more or less. This is why it is important to keep up to date on STI checks, use proper protection and always ensure everyone is happy to take part. This is key to ensuring everyone can have a happy and healthy sex life if they choose to.
If you are having sex or engaging in any sexual activity, it is important to make sure that you are protecting yourself and your partner(s) from STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
Contraception comes in many forms and what works best will depend on your personal preference. The most common and broadly used male method is a condom. The most common female method being the contraceptive pill. Condoms are easily bought in most shops and pharmacies or else pop down to the SU where we have free boxes to hand out. You can also take a few from the dispensers around the campuses.
Your other options can be discussed with any doctor or nurse.
Remember, don’t be silly and wrap your willy!
Sexually transmitted infections are those passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual contact. The only contraceptive made to protect against STIs are condoms. That is why, no matter what the sexual activity is, whether it is oral, anal or vaginal, you should always use a condom.
The most common age group in Ireland with an STI is 20–24-year-olds.
In Ireland Chlamydia is the most common STI, followed by gonorrhoea and genital herpes/warts.
If you are taking part in sexual activities, it is recommended to get tested regularly, whether you have symptoms or not. While the contraceptive pill helps to prevent unplanned pregnancies, condoms are the most effective barrier in preventing the spread of STI’s.
STI testing in Galway is carried out in Terryland. Call 01 686 9398 or visit the beter2know website where you can book online.
If you want, you can also order a home testing kit to be sent out to you for free.
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
If you have had unprotected sex and think you may be pregnant, take a deep breath and try not to panic.
If it is the day after having sex, do not take a pregnancy test as it takes 5-12 days for the egg to implant.
Go to your local pharmacy and ask to speak to someone.
If the sexual activity occurred a few days ago and you are now thinking that you may be pregnant, don’t worry, 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 to our offices.
If you’re not comfortable speaking about it with anyone, check out these websites which should help.
Respect is number 1 when it comes to any relationship. But what does that mean?
Respect means the 3 big Cs: Consent, Communication and Comfort.
No matter what the situation, the ‘big 3’ should always be present and needs to come from all parties involved in the activity.
You need consent for all sexual activities, including kissing, touching, oral sex, sexting and sending nudes.
If someone gave consent once, it does not mean they automatically consent to the same thing or things again. Consent can be withdrawn at any time!
Consent can be given verbally and non-verbally, to learn about examples of nonverbal go to
However, all types of non-verbal consent are indirect and might risk a misunderstanding between partners.
Bullying; Emotional, Physical & Sexual Abuse
Throughout your time in college, you or someone you know may encounter abuse. Abuse can occur in college, at work, in friendships, relationships, family or from a stranger and can come in many forms such as sexual, emotional and/or physical.
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 any abuse, big or small take place, it is important to be aware of the supports available. There are a number of supportsprovided by student services, your welfare officer and outside of college.
or go to the student health unit.
Speak Out is an online anonymous reporting tool to disclose incidents of bullying,
cyberbullying, harassment, discrimination, hate crime, coercive behaviour/control, stalking, assault, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. The Speak Out tool will help you to find relevant supports and highlight formal reporting procedures, should you wish to use them.
Please report one incident, or series of related incidents at a time; this is to ensure that we can understand the nature of your experience. It is important to remember that as the tool is completely anonymous, we have no way to identify or make contact with any member of the college community. Should you wish to report an incident formally, to the college, please visit the following pages:
STUDENTS | STAFF
Sexual Abuse is the act of sexual contact or comments towards a person who has not given their permission for those things to occur.
Sexual assault is usually committed by someone the victim knows and in a familiar location.
Each person always has the right to choose, and change their decision in the moment, with who and what kind of sexual activities they want to have.
Acts of rape and sexual assault are never the victim’s fault. If you have been affected by an act of sexual assault or know someone who has, please contact someone.
Mill Street Garda Station 091 538 000
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 include many things from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle things such as intimidation or manipulation.
Emotional abuse is not a joke, just because it is not a physical act of harm, does not mean it doesn’t hurt. It can cause serious harm to a person’s mental health.
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
Student Health Unit (in the SU)
Student Welfare Officer
Call: 083 206 4463
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.
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.
Looking after the number 1 person – YOU!
- Never walk alone at night time. Stick to busy streets and do not take shortcuts you are not familiar with.
- Only use licenced taxis and try either get a taxi with a friend or have a housemate meet you at the door to your house.
- Do not leave house keys in an accessible, well-known place. Try thinking outside the box and hide them in a well-hidden place.
- Always be aware of who is around you when you use an ATM – try use the ATM in the college canteen if possible.
- Try and walk with confidence. Be alert and always look like you know where you are going.
- Check in with your friends to let each other know you got home safely.
Student Vices & Addiction
College life opens 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. ATU provides you with support through your Welfare Officer and through the counsellors in Student Services…
- Helping Alcoholics to Achieve Sobriety – Alcoholics Anonymous Ireland 01 840 0700
- Online Meetings | (na-ireland.org) +353 (0)1-6728000 and for the western region call +353 (0) 86-8149004
- gamblersanonymousireland.ie 01 872 1133
Tel: +353 94 9043109
Tel: +353 91 742264