University of Johannesburg: UJ, Okay Minds (Hong Kong) offer training to develop emotional and mental health

The University of Johannesburg (UJ), in collaboration with Okay Minds (Hong Kong) held a workshop on the promotion of emotional and mental health on Wednesday, 11 August 2021, under the theme ”Emotional First-Aid and Mental Resilience. There is no health without mental health”, to show support for the mental health of students with sidelined identities to ensure equity and minority success.

While society have felt the effects of the Covid-19 public health and unemployment crisis, research shows that over 70 percent of people living in Hong Kong showed moderate to high levels of depressive symptoms, like feelings of worthlessness and recurrent thoughts of death, which are also prominent and prevalent in our current society and certainly in the UJ context. Student mental health has remained a top concern among the Institution during the pandemic, according to UJ’s Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD).

However appreciating the initiatives undertaken by PsyCaD, the speakers underscored the importance of creating awareness and sensitisation around mental health issues promoting wellness and happiness for the individual and social and community well-being. They also emphasised the role of young people in this regard and how educational institutions can play a part in creating an enabling environment for the same. Attendees gained strategies, frameworks, and tools to support the mental health and emotional well-being of ostracized students now and into the future.

Dr. Nimisha Vandan, PhD Researcher, Department of Public Health, University of Hong Kong and Dr Amit Wanchoo, a medical doctor from the Jammu and Kashmir State of India, delivered the keynote addresses. Dr. Vandan in her address highlighted the emotional guidance and psychological injury of mental health and deliberated on mental stress and disorder situations and the social determinants of health. Dr Wanchoo presented a roadmap for the prevention of mental illness and promotion of building mental health resiliency with particular reference to the Indian context. A host of other eminent resource persons conducted sessions on different aspects of mental and emotional wellness during the one-day workshop. Participants walked away with insights into the programs, policies, and practices that are most efficacious and feasible in the campus environment.

Okay Minds is a program for emotional first aid, stress management and to develop emotional intelligence and mental resiliency.