What are frustrations and stresses the young adults of today face and how do they tackle with these adversities? How should their families and dear ones come forward at the time of their need? To reflect on these situations BRAC Institute of Educational Development conducted an event where students from nine universities of the country spoke. Experts and social advocates also addressed the event.
Titled ‘Public speaking and self-care workshop’, the program was organized at the BRAC Centre on 11th October 2019 with technical assistance from Bangladesh Debating Council. The event was organized on the occasion of World Mental Health Day observed on 10 October. This year the World Health Organization highlighted the 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 mental health care.
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 University of Professionals, United International University, 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.
Young participants expressed their thoughts on the mental health issues particularly stress young adults face in their life nowadays. They pointed out a number of reasons causing stress, which include, parents and senior people not wanting to listen to their say, lack of space for young people speaking about their wishes and choices, likes and dislikes, fear and tension, parents and seniors comparing them with others without realizing that every person has their own individual existence and choices, irrational criticism of things what they like or love to do, not giving proper attention and value to the emotions of the young members of the family.
BRAC director Nabonita Chowdhury expressed her good wishes to the youths and said, “We just can sit indifferently. We have to first need to be empathic, 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 percent of psychological problems start before 14 years of age and 75 percent grow before 25 years of age. So, it is imperative to take care of the young population than any other age group. They also need to learn to take care of themselves. Family, society and educational institutions will also create proper and adequate space for their mental care.
Organizers said the objective of the event was to create a space for the youths to speak up their mind on the need of mental and emotional care, nurturing and trust and their expectations of a 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 Counseling Psychology Unit. The objective of the workshop was to boost self-confidence and a positive attitude towards life and grow an empathic mind among the young participants.
BRAC IED since 2004 has been planning and implementing research and other programs and projects related to stress-related issues and providing psychological care. The overall objective of its work in psychology is to help young people to grow as a compassionate and self-dependent generation able to explore their full potential as well as stand by others in their time of need.