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MIC & LINC Programme shine a light on mental health by participating in 2023 See Change Green Ribbon Campaign

MIC green campus building

Mary Immaculate College (MIC) and the Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years (LINC) Programme are proud to support this year's See Change Green Ribbon campaign, an initiative aimed at raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The campaign, organised by See Change, a leading Irish organisation dedicated to challenging mental health stigma, takes place each year in the month of September.

Celebrating its 11th year, the Green Ribbon campaign has become a nationwide movement that encourages individuals, organisations, and communities to wear a green ribbon during the month of September, symbolising their support for open and honest conversations about mental health. Through this visual symbol, participants pledge their commitment to fostering understanding, empathy, and inclusivity when discussing mental health matters. Each year the Green Ribbon campaign for 2023 adopts a specific theme and this year’s theme is Judgement. Across the month, See Change will explore what mental health judgement is, where it shows up across society, how judgement impacts people with mental health difficulties, and what we call all do to help end the unfair judgement of ourselves and others.

In recognising the significance and central importance of supporting positive mental health, MIC is delighted to join with the LINC Programme to support the 2023 See Change Green Ribbon Campaign. The LINC Programme is a pioneering initiative focused on fostering inclusivity within the Early Childhood Sector led by MIC, together with Early Childhood Ireland and the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University. The LINC Programme acknowledges that mental health awareness begins at an early age and that cultivating a supportive environment for children, educators, and families is pivotal in empowering them to navigate the challenges of life with resilience and positivity.

In expressing her support for the Green Ribbon Campaign Professor Emer Ring, Dean of Education encouraged students, colleagues and the wider community to get involved "so that together we can create a positive environment where there is no judgement and everyone feels that they belong." In welcoming back students on campus at the start of the Academic Year, Prof. Ring noted that "the Green Ribbon Campaign shines a light on the importance of our mental health and the need always to challenge discrimination and create an environment where everyone is empowered, respected and enabled to achieve their potential."

Pictured (L-R): Dr Lisha O'Sullivan, Head of Department of Reflective Pedagogy & Early Childhood Studies; Caitlin Donnelly, MISU Vice-President Student Experience and Wellbeing; Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC; Shirley Heaney, LINC National Coordinator; Professor Emer Ring, Dean of the Faculty of Education.

Commencing on Friday 1 September, the Tara Building on MIC’s Limerick campus and the main building on the Thurles campus will be illuminated in green light as part of the campaign which will be supported by a range of activities during the month of September. Commenting on MIC’s support of See Change’s 11th Annual Green Ribbon Campaign, Cillian Callaghan, President of Mary Immaculate Students' Union (MISU), said: "Mary Immaculate College’s Student Union welcomes the Green Ribbon Campaign 2023. MISU is very supportive of initiatives such as this, given the important role we play in promoting mental health awareness and I encourage everyone to become involved over the month of September and beyond."

Cillian also acknowledged the addition of a new MISU Vice-President with responsibility for Student Experience and Wellbeing, who further supports the promotion of positive mental health both on and off campus for students.

Pictured: MIC Thurles campus going green for See Change.

As part of this year’s campaign, MIC and the LINC Programme are hosting an online information session on Wednesday, 27 September at 7pm. During this online event, a representative from See Change will address the challenges of mental health stigma and discuss strategies for promoting understanding of mental health difficulties. This event will focus on promoting mental health awareness, providing resources, and encouraging meaningful conversations. Students, faculty, staff, and the wider community are invited to attend this online event. You can register for this free event by clicking here

Lucie Kavanagh, See Change Ambassador welcomed the support from MIC and the LINC Programme for the initiative, saying: "Huge strides have been made nationwide to eradicate stigma surrounding mental health difficulties but there is still a way to go. As long as secrecy and shame exist, it is a responsibility of us all to create a community, both inside and out of support services, to make it ok to start conversations and be heard without judgement or stereotypes. The Green Ribbon is a powerful reminder of this."

There are several ways you can support this campaign including the wearing of a green ribbon, the international symbol for mental health awareness, by downloading the supporters pack by clicking here and adding the Green Ribbon banners to your email/social media platforms, in addition to spreading awareness using the hashtags #GreenRibbonIRL and #EndTheStigma. We invite you to join MIC and the LINC Programme in being a part of this important movement to break down the barriers surrounding mental health.

More information on how to become involved can be found here.