School of Nursing & Midwifery Lecturer develops new website to address students' depressive symptoms
19 Feb 2010
A new website ‘Lose the Blues’ has been launched at the School of Nursing & Midwifery, University College Cork (UCC) aimed at students experiencing depressive symptoms.
The website is designed specifically for 18-24 year olds, who may be experiencing low mood to cope with their experiences. As well as providing information on depression and links to national and international support services, the site’s unique feature is its online forum which will allow users to share their experience and offer peer support to each other within a safe environment.
The website was developed by Aine Horgan, a PhD student and Psychiatric Nursing Lecturer at UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. The website is currently part of a research study being undertaken at UCC by Aine and supported by Dr John Sweeney and Professor Geraldine McCarthy in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. The aim of the research is to see if the website can help improve one’s mood.
Aine explained: “With depression now the most common mental health problem worldwide, it was agreed that this forum offered the best means of communication for students who may be experiencing low mood to interact with each other.” She suggests that the incidence of depression and related problems among young people is very high; however, most are reluctant to seek professional help due to the stigma that remains associated with mental health problems. Aine believes it is time that mental health interventions are provided for young people through a means that are accessible and usable.
In a previous study with 18-24 year old University students, Aine and her colleague Dr John Sweeney found that almost 31% of young people have accessed the internet for mental health information, most frequently searching for information on depression, suicide and self harm. They also found that 68% reported that they would use the internet for mental health support if they needed to, demonstrating that this age group are willing to use the internet as a support for mental health problems.
The site has received the support of both the UCC Student Counselling Centre and the Students’ Union. The website www.losetheblues.ie has been developed in collaboration with Neil Kenealy from New Media Med and can be found from links on the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Student Counselling websites.
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