On the occasion of the World Mental Health Day and under the theme “Wherever you go, there you are”, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi organized an awareness week for its students to showcase the importance of mental health. The event started on the 8th October and ends tomorrow on the university’s campus in Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. Certified counselors from the university provided the different workshops and discussions.
This event is designed to highlight the different aspects of mental health’s issues as well as helping students, faculty and staff to understand the importance of psychological health. In addition, this event aims to further destigmatize mental health issues, while exploring the various resources available on campus and in the community. The different workshops organized provided students with valuable information that will help them focus on maintaining their own mental well-being, practice mindfulness and understand the benefits of positive peer influence.
Mrs. Angela Franklin, Head of Advising and Resources in the Students Affairs department at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi said: “It is very important for us to support our students in their academic journey and personal development through highlighting serious issues that could really be harmful for their health. Hence, the different methods used to transfer the right messages about mental health during this week is a great opportunity to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and encourage students to take the needful steps to seek support”.
Mrs. Franklin added: “We are so proud of our students who are committed to play a positive role at the university and in their community through the knowledge they acquire on different topics during their academic experience. The cooperation of our professional counselors was a main reason for this event’s success. We look forward to launching more initiatives of this kind and see our students succeed in their academic life while maintaining a good physical and mental health”.
Farah Mohammed Al Besher, master’s graduate of Health Economics from Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi said: "Mental health is an important subject that must be presented at local discussion tables because it is not a complementary good or service that patients can let go of and it also affects our personal decisions”.
Ms. Farah added: “I recently completed my master’s degree in Health Economics at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and my master research paper was about the effect of depression on healthcare and economy growth in Abu Dhabi. According to the pilot survey that I have conducted, lack of public awareness is a major factor in our Emirati society. As a result, I am committed as an employee in the Advising and Resources section within the Student Affairs department, to focus on issues related to mental health and well-being”.
The World Mental Health awareness week included a number of discussions, movies, videos and workshops. The discussions addressed a number of topics such as family, legacy and mental health, nature of mental health: signs and treatments, importance of mindfulness along with examining the most common mental health issues that can affect students between 18 and 25 years old and how do we determine when we are at-risk and what at-risk behavior is.