To promote mental health awareness in the community, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Central Student Government CSG kicked off its first ever “Mental Health Awareness Week” with a weeklong celebration of programs and activities last March 13.
The opening seminar titled “Mind Matters” discussed the importance of a person’s mental well-being and what people can do to address certain issues that can arise from the said topic. The seminar had two speakers, namely, Dr. Ma. Cristina Esquivel-Saldivar, a full-time professor in Benilde and president of the Association of Psychological and Educational Counsellors of Asia-Pacific (APECA), and Ms. Carmela Maniquis, a resident counselor at the College’s Center for Counseling Services.
To promote awareness among students about mental health issues a much larger scale, Saldivar discussed the issues on a national level. She emphasized this because she said that 1 out of every 5 adult Filipinos suffers from a mental disorder. To complement that, Maniquis highlighted how the Benildean community could contribute to the nation through participating in this awareness week.
“Being able to more aware, will actually help them fight the stigma. Once we’re able to erase the stigma, it’s a lot easier to engage in help-seeking behavior. And it’s a lot easier for someone to be attuned with someone else’s experience so that we could be an agent of referral [for those in need],” Maniquis said.
The Mental Health Awareness Week is made possible in partnership with Benilde Debate Society, Benilde Red Cross Youth Council, and Sinag Benildyano.
Aside from the seminar, students can expect further activities revolving around mental health, prepared by the CSG and their partner organizations until today, March 17. There will be an art exhibit, peer confrontation session, group counseling, and an open mic night. See CSG’s official Facebook page for more details.