College of the North Atlantic-Qatar’s Counselling Team promoted World Mental Health Day (WMHD) on campus recently with a focus on the importance of awareness and prevention of mental health issues in young people.
The event was held under the World Health Organization’s theme ‘Young people and mental health in a changing world,’ to create awareness about mental illness and the impact of mental health issues on general health and wellbeing.
Many students participated with a number of interactive learning tools, including posters and emoji hand stickers that enabled them to share how they would help a fellow student who needed support, and also how they might ask for help if they needed it. There were also tools available that creatively encouraged students to put their mobile phones away and participate in real conversation at the meal table.
“Students need to know that there are ways they can look after their mental health by getting enough sleep and exercise, spending quality time with family and friends, and managing their stress,” said Ms. Kathleen Howard, Dean of Student Affairs at CNA-Q. “They can also be part of a support network of peers and they can tap into parents’ and teachers’ know-how for support.”
Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example starting college, getting married or beginning a new job. For many young people, these are very exciting beginnings. However, they can also be times of stress and anxiety. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental health issues.
According to Dean Howard, a great deal of focus has to be on building mental resilience in students, ensuring they have the tools and life skills to weather life’s difficulties and adapt to change. “Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can help students cope and support can be provided in schools and other community settings, as it is here at CNA-Q,” said Dean Howard.