What extent of frustrations and stresses do the young adults of today face and how do they tackle these adversities? How should their families and dear ones reach out to them during these times of need? To reflect on these situations, BRAC Institute of Educational Development conducted an event where students of the country’s nine universities came forward and shared their views. Experts and social advocates also participated in the event.
Titled ‘Public speaking and self-care workshop’, the programme was organised at the capital’s BRAC Centre on Friday, October 11, 2019, with technical assistance from Bangladesh Debating Council. The event was organised on the occasion of World Mental Health Day observed on October 10. This year, the World Health Organisation highlighted prevention of suicide as the theme of the day, urging the nations and communities across the world to tackle the rising incidence of suicides through robust improvements on mental healthcare.
Participating universities were BRAC University, North South University, Dhaka University, The Institute of Business Administration of Dhaka University, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), Independent University, Bangladesh, Bangladesh University of Professionals, United International University, and Islamic University of Technology.
Nabanita Chowdhury, renowned social justice advocate, journalist and director of BRAC's violence against women initiative, and Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed, associate professor of National Mental Health Institute addressed the audience as special guests.
During the event, the young participants expressed their thoughts on mental health issues, particularly the stress that young adults face in their daily lives. They pointed out a number of reasons causing stress, including parents and elders not wanting to listen to their say; lack of safe spaces for young people to address their concerns, fears and tension; being compared with others by parents resulting in insecurities; irrational criticism of things they like or love to do; not giving proper attention and not valuing the emotions they face as young members of the family.
Nabonita Chowdhury, director at BRAC’s violence against women initiative, expressed her well wishes to the youths and said, “We just can’t sit with indifference. First of all, we need to be empathetic, compassionate and let others know that we care. We have to keep our ears ready so that we can listen to anyone who needs to speak their mind and feelings.”
Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed said, “Fifty per cent of psychological problems start before the age of 14 and 75 per cent of these problems grow the age of 25. So it is imperative to take care of the young population than any other age groups. They also need to learn to take care of themselves. Family, society and educational institution will also create proper and adequate space for their mental care.”
Organisers said the objective of the event was to create a space for the youths to speak their mind on the need of mental and emotional care, nurturing and trust and their expectations of response from their families, relatives, friends and institutions.
Following the public speaking round, the youths attended a self-care workshop facilitated by BRAC IED’s Counselling Psychology Unit. The objective of the workshop was to boost self-confidence and positive attitude towards life and encourage empathy among the young participants.
BRAC IED has been planning and implementing research since 2004. The overall objective of its work in psychology is to help young people grow into compassionate and self-dependent adults who are able to explore their full potential as well as stand by others in their times of need.