UCD Students’ Union have pledged to raise €100,000 for registered charity, Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland (YSPI). They’ve recruited 530 students in support of this challenge as part of a major campaign which culminates in a mass charity skydive and most recently features a naked calendar.
They’ve raised over €10,000 so far and hope to raise a further €30,000 by selling 3,000 naked calendars for €10 through campaign participants and on campus shops. All proceeds will assist YSPI reduce levels of youth suicide in Ireland through a classroom based programme, The Four Steps to Help, provided free of charge to secondary schools around the country.
YSPI was founded in 2007 as there were no national charities focusing specifically on the problems and issues of youth suicide and self-harm in Ireland. They receive no support from the state and are completely dependent on public donations. UCD Students’ Union have committed to raise them €100,000 because rates for suicide and self harm are particularly high for young Irish women and men. Ireland has the 3rd highest youth suicide rate in the European Union.
UCD Students’ Union President for 2015/16 Marcus O’Halloran says this calendar, while controversial, helps a good cause: “We’re organizing a naked Christmas calendar and a skydive as part of our fundraising campaign for Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland. We’ve been accused of being off message but all our ideas are run by YSPI and they agree with our methods. We want to draw attention to what we’re doing. We need attention to get this much money together. Charities like YSPI have a real need for resources which aren’t being provided by Government. We want to help expand & develop their Schools Visit programme, their Four Steps to Help programme, and we’re going all out to meet that end.”