The Fiji Times » UNF celebrates World Suicide Prevention Day and launch of Mental Health Awareness Month

Being able to freely communicate feelings without fear or judgment will help reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental health issues.

This was highlighted by the British Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Paul Welsh, as the chief guest of World Suicide Prevention Day at Fiji National University’s Pasifika Campus.

The event was organized by the Department of Health and Medical Services in conjunction with the FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS).

“I strongly believe that talking about our feelings, as painfully difficult as it can sometimes be, can help others know that they are not unusual or alone. It helps them to know that a light can be found in what is can often feel like a very dark tunnel,” Welsh said.

“The more people who are able to speak openly about their feelings, the more likely we are to break down the stigma around mental health and suicidal thoughts that exists in all societies.”

Welsh also shared her personal mental health struggles and encouraged everyone to be vigilant, compassionate, and kind to members of our families and communities who may be dealing with mental wellness issues.

CMNHS Dean Dr. William May added that the theme “Creating Hope through Action” is relevant as it emphasizes the vital work done by various stakeholders carrying out advocacy and awareness-raising activities. and providing support services to those in need.

“As a national university, it is imperative that we work closely with national, regional and even global partners in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and integrated approach to our mental health and wellbeing,” said Dr May.

“It also underlines our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), in particular Goal 3 on good health and well-being. As a signatory to the SDG Agreement, FNU is already aligned with the goals of Goal 3 on good health and well-being. »

“As we gather today and witness the launch of resource materials produced by the Department of Health and UNF, it is important that we all become ambassadors for good mental health and wellbeing in our own spheres. influence.”

“This includes within our professional and social groups, families and loved ones and in our online communities and interactions.”

Dr May said collaboration was key to solving this pressing public health issue.

“As the institution’s strategic plan outlines, the University believes in the power of partnership. Alone, each of us cannot do much; However, together we can accomplish so much more.

The event also marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Month, which will end on October 10 on World Mental Health Day.

A wellness guide compiled by the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences was also released at the event. The guide contains stress management techniques for staff and students, self-help programs and resources, and details of services available within the University for mental health support.