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Mental Health Awareness Campaign: Openly ending the stigma around mental health one step at a time

On February 9th, the Counselling Unit of BRAC University hosted its “Mental Health Awareness Campaign: Spring 2023” on-campus, in collaboration with the Natural Sciences Club, Community Service Club, MONON, and the Leadership Development Forum. All BRAC University students, faculty members, and staff were welcome to attend the event, which lasted from 10:30 am to 4 pm in the Building 2 Indoor Auditorium.

The Event Early in the Morning

Activities Organised during the Campaign

The jam-packed programme had four different booths manned by stall representatives – members of the Counselling Unit – so attendees were able to discover and use the numerous interesting self-help tools and personalised strategies to improve their mental health. Participants could opt for a five-minute-long music therapy by wearing headphones and listening to a few prepared playlists of songs and beats provided to them. Another available sensory activity for attendees involved watercolour-painting on printed Mandalas, drawing and scribbling graffiti, and placing handprints on Styrofoam. Willing participants had the opportunity of anonymously receiving free self-evaluative reports on their current mental health via the confidential surveys (related to common issues, like anxiety, depression, suicide, etc.) that they were required to fill up on-site. Including getting handouts and cards of meditative and therapeutic advice, students could also write and receive short anonymous letters to and from their peers at one of the booths.

Booth Named See Through Your Eyes

Aside from the booth visits, the programme showcased four musical and dance performances, as well as two drama performances having a strong emphasis on mental health, by BUNSC, MONON, and BUCSC, at half-hourly intervals. The welcoming speeches were delivered by the Coordinator & Counsellor of the Counselling Unit, Shami Suhrid, and the Joint Director of Student Life at BRAC University, Ms Tahsina Rahman, respectively.

Purpose of the Campaign

Dedicated to reducing stigma and promoting positive mental health for all, the campaign’s significance lies in encouraging students and staff to make time in their schedules for self-care, both physically and mentally. Moreover, the event shared some basic information about the campus’ available services and resources to assist students with their basic needs, health, and mental well-being. The two-year-long COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn have had a detrimental impact on the mental health of many people and made matters worse for those who already had been living with mental illnesses and conditions related to substance use. The purpose of this campaign was to draw attention to how challenging – and perhaps impossible – it is to recognize when someone is struggling and in danger of taking their own life. By normalising the topic of mental health and making it a part of everyone’s daily conversation, the Counselling Unit wishes to inspire people to end discrimination against people who suffer from mental health issues and to save lives.

Cards of Meditative and Therapeutic Advice
(Clicked by Nazifa Farzana Nabila)

Additionally, the Spring 2023 semester started on a positive note with the Counselling Unit organising one workshop on “Redefining Anger Through Dance Movement” on February 7th, and another workshop on “Inhale Peace & Exhale Stress” on February 15th. The Unit is hoping to have more beneficial workshops and events like these for those in need in the upcoming days ahead.

Mayeesha Taasmiyah Masud

Mayeesha Taasmiyah Masud is a journalist at BRACU Express. She is a third-year student majoring in Applied Linguistics & English Language Teaching (ELT) at BRAC University. ✨ An absolutely caffeine-dependent life form. Humble, with just a hint of Kanye West, 2 tablespoons of Taylor Swift, a teaspoon of Elizabeth Gillies, and a hint of Morgan Freeman ✨ Reach her at mayeesha.taasmiyah.masud@g.bracu.ac.bd.

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