Making the transition to college and being a student can change aspects of your lifestyle and sometimes we can forget to look after ourselves at this stage of our lives. Your health is important to you. Most students work part-time as well as attending college – and it’s all too easy to let your health take a back seat. There are many aspects of our lifestyle that may be affected so we have split this section into Sexual Health, Physical Health, Alcohol and Drug Awareness as well as Mental Health. Always remember all of these areas are dependent on the others. So, to look after yourself mentally, you will have to take care of yourself physically and nutritionally.

Remember you can enjoy the college experience by staying healthy.

Sexual Health

Let’s Talk About Sex

Sexuality is a huge part of a human being and it is very apparent through your college years. No matter whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight the two things you need to remember are RESPECT and SAFETY. Whoever you like, love safe sex.

Also remember not everyone is sexually active in college so remember never to pressure anyone into having sex and also you yourself should never feel under pressure to have sex.


All contraceptive methods are very effective and most are 99% effective – when used correctly and consistently. A Dual Protection approach to contraception gives the best protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Simply put the only way not to get pregnant, or contract a STD or STI is Abstinence – i.e. not having sex. If you do make the choice to have sex, be responsible and practice Safe Sex. What is Safe Sex? Safe Sex means enjoying sex to the fullest without transmitting, or acquiring, sexually related infections.

There is a wide range of contraception available these days, but remember only some forms protect you from STIs so make sure you are fully protected so that you can relax and enjoy sex! If you are ever confused or need help choosing contraception or finding out which best suits you call up to Ruth your VP Welfare or to any of the nurses in the MTU Medical centre for advice.

Be responsible and use condoms. Contraception is often something both guys and girls might not know much about. Here in the Students’ Union I provide information on contraception options and Sexual Health. Practice safe sex, use condoms.

We have condoms available in the Students’ Union office at a low cost price and we give them out for free a lot during the year. A lot of people may call for a chat or to buy stationery so there is never a need to feel embarrassed calling in. Be proud of yourself for being so responsible.

There are lots of other forms of contraception and protection that you may wish to consider. These include dental dams, female condoms, diaphragms, intra-uterine devices, implants, patches and vaginal rings. For more information go to

Physical Health

When starting College you may be feeling happy, scared, excited, anxious and sometimes stressed about this new phase of your life. Even though you may be feeling all of these emotions or just some, the single most important thing is to remember to LOOK AFTER YOURSELF.

Healthy Eating

For some of you this may be your first time living away from home and cooking for yourself may be a new concept. Yes convenience and fast foods may be easy and tempting but don’t base your diet around these for the sake of your health and your pocket – these foods can be expensive.

Take a look at some of my tips for healthy eating in college:

  • Always eat a breakfast (it will help you concentrate in early morning lectures)
  • Bring a packed lunch to college (you will save money)
  • Try and eat three varied meals a day (mix of nutrients makes for a balanced diet)
  • Bulk Buy (it’s cheaper and you can freeze or share with housemates)
  • Drink plenty of Water
  • Plan for days when you are too tired to cook (freeze portions)
  • Limit alcohol consumption


This Student Nutrition Booklet has been compiled by Aaron Fahy, Jordan Forde and Edvinas Maciulevicius from Multimedia Year one.  This has some great tips and recipes.


As well as eating healthy it is also important to keep active.  Not only do you keep fit and healthy but it can make you feel more relaxed and de-stressed. It can be as simple as going for a walk, a kick around with your friends, or even better, getting involved with a sports club or society in college, which is also a great way to get to know other students.

The gym in MTU is also FREE for all full-time students so make the use of it and get a programme set to suit you.

From your first week of college it is very tempting to go out every night. While it is great to socialise and enjoy yourself, try to take it easy. Pace yourself and limit your alcohol consumption. That way you save money and avoid a hangover the next morning in a lecture which is never nice.

Take a look at some of the following links for staying healthy in college:

Mental Health

Looking after your Mental Health

It’s easy to overlook the importance of mental health and the effects it has on you and your body. Mental Health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with the ups and downs of life. Mental health affects us all. How we think and how we feel about ourselves and our lives impacts on our behaviour and how we cope in tough time. It affects our ability to make the most of the opportunities that come our way and play a full part amongst our family, workplace, community and friends. It is also closely linked with our physical health.  We all have mental health, and it is important that we look after it. Mental health varies from maintaining positive mental health to time or distress and periods of depression to very serious mental health illnesses.

Are you stressed? Feeling overwhelmed? Feeling low?

There have been a lot of changes for us all in recent weeks with the lifting of restrictions, a new semester, new timetables, commuting, maybe spending more money than before, more socialising etc. While these things can be great and exciting, they can also be overwhelming, confusing or leave us feeling low and lonely. This is not uncommon and, in many ways, to be expected, but experiencing these feelings long term can impact on our academic and work performance, our relationships and, most importantly, our own wellbeing. One way of looking at these issues and building skills and awareness to improve our wellbeing is by using an online support, such as Silvercloud.

What is Silvercloud?

Silvercloud is digital mental health platform that has recently become available to students and staff of MTU. It provides eight programmes based on differing mental health worries that you can explore anytime, anywhere at your own pace. It is completely anonymous and confidential and allows you to learn about and find ways of managing the issues that are most significant to you.

What programmes are available?

There are eight Silvercloud programmes currently available to students and staff of MTU. These are:

  • Space from Stress
  • Space for Positive Body Image
  • Space for Resilience
  • Space for Sleep
  • Space from Alcohol
  • Space from Money Worries
  • Space for Mindfulness
  • Space from Covid-19


How do I access Silvercloud?

Students can access Silvercloud at

Staff can access Silvercloud at

Does it work?

Silvercloud research shows that 68% of those who completed a programme showed significant improvement in that area. You can also track your own progress as you go to see where you’re making improvements.

What if I have questions or need more support?

As always, if you have any questions or need more support in any of the areas listed above, don’t hesitate to contact us in student counselling by email at or check out our webpage at to see what other supports are available.

Ok, sounds good, what’s the first step?

At this moment, there are many students and staff using Silvercloud to improve their sleep, resilience and body image, among other issues. Click on the link above to log onto the student or staff site and do the ‘wellbeing quiz’ to see which programmes would be best. Then make a cup of tea, put your feet up and start the programme you feel is right for you. Enjoy!

Eating Disorders

The term ‘eating disorder’ refers to a complex, potentially life-threatening condition, characterised by severe disturbances in eating behaviours.

Eating disorders can be seen as a way of coping with emotional distress, or as a symptom of underlying issues.

  • Eating disorders are not primarily about food
  • People can and do recover
  • Eating disorders can affect anyone

Eating disorders are characterised by a variety of disordered eating behaviours such as:

  • Self-starvation – by fasting and/or food restriction
  • Purging – by self-induced vomiting, over-exercising, or laxative abuse
  • Bingeing – by consuming quantities of food beyond what the body needs to satisfy hunger

An eating disorder can be very destructive, both physically and emotionally, and people can get trapped into the destructive cycle of the eating disorder without knowing how to cope with it. An eating disorder is not just about food and weight, but also about a person’s sense of who they are. Treatment of an eating disorder will require attention to both the physical and the psychological/emotional aspects of the person. Treatment must always include respect for and sensitivity for the overall well-being of the person. The distress of a person experiencing an eating disorder, whether or not it is acknowledged, may have a considerable impact on family and friends.


At any given point in time, most college students are stressed about something, but sometimes stress is not a bad thing. Stress can be used to motivate yourself to finish those assignments on time or to knuckle down and study for an upcoming exam. Stress can however be dangerous and harmful to your body and mind if you don’t control it. While having stress in your life is normal and often unavoidable, being stressed is something you can control.


The following are tips on how to manage stress and to get the most out of your college experience:

  • Eat Healthy: Yes fast food and junk food are convenient, and plentiful, but they don’t set you up to do your best. Fueling yourself with nutritious foods can boost your immune system, help you maintain a healthy weight and help you feel better about yourself. Eating well will increase your physical, mental, and emotional stamina. Be sure to keep your fridge stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, and high-protein snacks, and be sure that your main meals are healthy and balanced. Keep hydrated also drink plenty of water!
  • Sleep: Students are notorious for not getting enough sleep, due to having busy schedules, late night cramming, and many late nights out. Sleep problems can affect every aspect of our lives – our relationships, our mood, our ability to concentrate, function and complete day to day tasks. All of these factors have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Try and get eight hours sleep a night to stay healthy. Staying up and studying all night before an exam is a poor choice – your brain won’t be working at its best and you will be feeling very tired and unable to concentrate, the next day. Power naps are great, they can really help rejuvenate your body before heading out/ study session.
  • Exercise: One of the best ways of relieving stress is exercise even as simple as going for a walk. Not only does it improve your health and help you to de-stress, it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep. Exercise also causes the release of endorphins into your blood stream. These endorphins make you feel happy and positively affect your overall sense of well-being.
  • Breathe: When you are feeling stressed you don’t think as clearly as you normally would. A quick way to calm down is to practice your breathing exercises. These can be done virtually anywhere and at any time. You are stress free in minutes and are useful when experiencing anxiety before or even during exams, as well as other times when stress feels overwhelming.
  • Set Goals: Goals can be very helpful as they give you something to aim for, work towards and see light at the end of the tunnel. Set many smaller goals or milestones, like steps toward the large goal. You can set goals for when you want to have projects or assignments completed for or aim towards  an average you would like to achieve by Christmas for example. Goals like this can help you to motivate yourself and stay focused throughout the year.
Alcohol & Drug Awareness

While in college there can be a lot of pressure to drink alcohol and to drink it in very high amounts. Remember you do not have to drink alcohol to have a good night! It’s important to know about the effects of alcohol and drugs to keep yourself safe and well. Alcohol can have a great effect and can have adverse effects. We all know that Ireland has a drinking culture and most of us know that we probably drink more than we should. However, when everyone else is doing the same, it’s easy to forget how bad alcohol can be for our health. You should know how it effects your body and how to drink safely.

Take a look at some of the following links for information and advice on alcohol , consumption and the effects it can have:


Smoking is the inhalation of smoke from burning tobacco. Nicotine is the addictive drug present in tobacco and smoking a cigarette is the quickest and most powerful way to get it into our body. Nicotine is poisonous and has been used in the past as an insecticide. It is inhaled into the lungs, passes into the bloodstream and reaches the brain in about 10 -20 seconds. Nicotine addiction can occur very quickly and it is because of this that smokers continue to smoke, many for the rest of their lives. Smoking is an addiction, one that many of you may have begun in your teenage years.  Think about how many cigarettes do you smoke a day? Do you know the affects that is having in the short term and the long term on your health and the health of those around you. No matter what you may think you can give up!

MTU may become a smoke free campus at some stage, so you may have no choice but to QUIT.

Take a look at some of the following articles and links on smoking to see what it is really doing to your body:

Call into the nurse in the MTU Medical Centre who can help you to  quiet smoking and recommend the best method for you.

021 433 5780 or call in to the Medical Centre on the Middle Floor of the Student Centre.


Some time in our lives, we will all be exposed to drugs and/or to those who abuse them, but what do we do when we are exposed to them? Drugs range from alcohol (Yes, it is a drug) to heroin. There are so many cocktails and mixtures of new drugs out there every day  and you never know what it is you are actually taking . The temptation and curiosity to try something new is always there, but there are far better alternatives for the “first time thrill” you may be seeking. You could go sky-diving, bungee jumping or extreme kayaking. Drugs are not a thrill that you control. THEY CONTROL YOU. Would you let someone tell you how to live your life? Tell you what to wear? What to eat? Who you can be friends with? No! So why let a substance like drugs dictate your life?

It’s important to remember that the word drugs covers a wide range of substances. They might be legal or illegal, useful or dangerous. It doesn’t matter if it’s coffee, alcohol, fags, hash, ecstasy, cocaine or paracetamol. They all have side effects and risks, some worse than others. Drug related problems depend on what drug is being used, who is using it and their mood (if you’re feeling down or stressed), why they’re taking it (to have fun or to escape from reality) and how much they’re taking. Make sure you read up on drugs and make informed choices.

So if you have any worries, queries or you/a friend/a family member are dealing with a drug abuse problem, there is a lot of support available. Information on many of these services is available from the  Students’ Union.

Take a look at some of the following links for information and advice on drugs and the effects they can have:

Getting Help

Where and who do I go to for help?

The most important thing to do it to TALK about how you are feeling and what you are going through. Talk to a friend, family member, lecturer who ever you feel most comfortable talking to. Even just talking to someone else about what you are going through can help. There are many support services both within MTU and externally that can  help you.

MTU Careers and Counselling

The Careers and Counselling Service is a free, integrated and confidential service available to all full-time, registered students and apprentices while attending the Institute. The Service is committed to supporting and encouraging students to reach their academic and personal potential during their time at the Institute. The Service offers Career Guidance, Educational Guidance and Personal Counselling.

The integrated Careers and Counselling Service operates predominately on an  appointment basis, and is located on the second floor of the Student Centre, Bishopstown Campus.
The Service is also available to students of the other MTU campuses.

Students often seek help with problems related to stress, bereavement, depression, lack of motivation, addiction, eating problems, relationship or family, sexuality, academic or study.

The Counselling Service offers:

  • A free and confidential service.
  • One-to-One counselling provided by one of our team of qualified and experienced Counsellors.
  • An initial assessment to identify your counselling needs followed by a fixed number of sessions (usually six). Each session lasts for 45 minutes.
  • Support while you explore personal, social and academic issues.

Based on the 2nd floor of the Student Centre. Appointments can be made with the Administrator by calling into the front desk or by telephone on (021) 4335772

Opening Hours:
8.30am – 4.30pm during term only.

Check out our website: for more information

MTU Medical Centre

MTU Medical Centre has a doctor who specialises in Mental Health and is only €10 for the doctor or free to see the nurse with a Student Card.

The Medical Centre, situated in the Student Centre on the Bishopstown Campus is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am – 5.00pm.

Secretary: Marian Walsh Tel: 433 5780 for appointments and other queries.

External Organisations
  • Bodywhys (Support Group for those  affected by eating disorders)

PO Box 105, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
T: 1890 200 444  E:

  • AWARE (Support Group for those affected by Depression)

Helpline 1890 303 302 (Seven days 10am-10pm. Thurs to Sun, the helpline also operates after 10pm)

Confidential emotional support for those who are despairing or suicidal, 24 hours a day by telephone, email, letter or face to face

7/8 Coach St., Cork        Call us: 116 123      Text us: 087 2 60 90 90      email:

Highfield Lawn, Model Farm Road, Bishopstown
Phone: 021-4341400

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9am to 5pm
Wednesday: 9am to 8pm
Saturday: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm

-For Low Cost Counselling call 087 799 8602 Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm
-Suicide Bereavement Support 087 798 6844 Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm
-Farm and Rural Stress Helpline 1800 742 645

If you are ever feeling stressed or have any worries, there is a wide community of support available to you. You can find information on a lot of these in the Students’ Union Office. Remember ”Mental Health Campaign” in November