This deadly virus has had one side effect which most of us have experienced – a deterioration of our mental well-being. The constant worry about contracting Covid-19, along with the stay-at-home order, has definitely caused an array of mental health issues – anxiety, depression, stress-related fatigue.
As students, our daily routines have been altered significantly. It has been overwhelming to have to study, attend classes and sit for exams from home. We’re so used to the classroom banter with lecturers, hanging out with our friends after class and just experiencing a normal on-campus life. With no end in sight, it can be easy to develop mental health issues whilst still adapting to this new normal.
If you’ve not been feeling the best lately, take a few minutes out of your time to read what Ms Lara, BAC’s Student Counselor, had to say about mental health issues.
- What are your thoughts on mental health awareness in our community?
We need to raise awareness about mental health in our schools. From young, we can instill in children’s minds that getting help from a mental health professionals can be very useful to their daily lives. I know some of them don’t believe in mental health issues.
However, in 2020 quite a large number of people got help from professionals for their mental health issues. I can see that our community has a better understanding compared to 5 years ago. This is due to open sharing about mental health issues on social media and many other platforms.
- What does a typical counseling session with you look like?
So far, I conduct individual counseling sessions for our students. But if there is a need for group counseling then I’ll form a group. Before we start with sessions, students need to fill up an informed consent form.
The first session is to build my rapport with the student. The follow up sessions will depend on the issues. Usually a student will attend at least 8 -10 sessions.
- Any words of encouragement for those who are afraid to reach out due to the taboo surrounding mental health?
I would highly encourage students to first understand that their mental health is extremely important and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you’re struggling, especially given these difficult times. In fact, by speaking out, you are playing a big part in overcoming this stigma and that makes you very brave. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your friends and family, please reach out to us counselors. Trust us to help you overcome your struggles and know that these conversations will be kept confidential.
- If one is not ready to reach out to a counselor just yet, any advice on preliminary steps that can be taken?
Share their issues with someone they’re closest to. For some students, they are very comfortable with teachers or programme coordinators. These teachers or coordinators can hear them out and refer to the counselors when the students are ready.
- Anything you’d like to say to those struggling with their mental health?
Try to make time to do fun, enjoyable activities. Whether it is going for a walk, painting or a specific TV show, try to set aside time to enjoy yourself. If we don’t spend any time doing things we enjoy, we can become irritable and unhappy. Also, make an effort to maintain good relationships and talk to people whenever you get the chance. Having friends is important not just for your self-esteem, but also for providing support when you’re not feeling too great.
As Ms Lara has pointed out, it is best to reach out for help if you’ve been feeling a little down. Here at BAC, mental well-being is taken very seriously and if there is anything we can do to help, please do reach out. If you have a need to speak to our counselor, please contact Ms Lara at 019-3479697
You are definitely not alone in this struggle. #KitaJagaKita is a core sentiment within the BAC family as well!