New anxiety project launched by Trinity’s Ability Co-Op

The Co-Op feels as though students’ anxieties are being “dismissed”

Trinity’s Ability Co-Op have launched a new Anxiety Project, the first in a series of projects looking at the struggles of disabilities faced by students in College. 

The project, which is to be made up of informative videos and articles, aims to educate students and lecturers on disabilities and help inform on supports that can be sought. 

One member of the Ability Co-Op, Raphi Patterson, stated: “We are so happy with how the video came out. It is an introduction into this desperately needed project, aiming to do vital work in the education on disabilities.”

“Trinity is facing a crisis when it comes to disabilities, students with disabilities are continually isolated and ignored,” Patterson continued. “The Co_Op is here to change that, and to bring about a more inclusive, aware and educated College.”

The video, which is available on the Co-op’s Facebook page, was written by Raphi Patterson, Niamh Barry and Ben Rowsome, and edited by Niamh Barry.

Another member of the Co-Op, Rachel Murphy, explained that “so many students suffer from anxiety” but there are a lot of students “who are afraid to talk about it and they don’t seek help from the supports that are available to them”.

“Hopefully this project will help reduce the stigma around anxiety in college and that people sharing their experiences will encourage others to do so,” Murphy continued.

 The Trinity Ability Co-op is a collaborative initiative between students, staff and other stakeholders in College. The Ability Co-Op is based in Disability Hub in Printing Square.

Niamh Barry, a member of the Ability Co-Op, said: “Everyone suffers from anxiety but there is a big difference between feeling anxious sometimes to actually having anxiety.”

“It can make the little things in life harder to do, like scheduling things outside of college around a busy college schedule or attempting to go to a college event,” Barry added. 

Barry explained that for this reason, the project was created by the Co-Op to educate people about anxiety directly, by telling personal stories.

The Ability Co-Op said that they have noticed that lecturers “tend not to believe students” when they say they are suffering from anxiety, and that lecturers “dismiss a reach out” for help with coursework.

“Lectures and the college itself, must pay attention to these cries for help and aid students with anxiety who are trying to get through college,” the press release stated. “We just want to be listened to and understood, not ignored and stigmatized.”

The Ability Co-Op noted that it “seems to be happening a lot within Trinity’s lecturer to student relationship” and that it “must change”, as online learning and exams result in student stress levels being “sky high”.

The Ability Co-Op is a student-lead organisation that works on media campaigns and creative workshops for students in Trinity. 

In 2019, a study by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) found that 38% of third level students in Ireland were experiencing “extremely severe” levels of anxiety.

A further 30% of students were found to be extremely severely depressed and 17% experienced extremely severe levels of stress.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the News Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Fresh English and Philosophy student.