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Event Review | Stories from Mental Health Workshop with Rotaract

On 12 June 2018, CandleX collaborated with Rotaract in organizing a mental health workshop at Peking University. Specifically, the workshop focused on depression. Some of the participants shared the reason they decided to come to the workshop, their experience and opinion on mental health and more. Here are some of their stories.

How did you learn about the workshop?

Participants heard about this event either via a friend or our Wechat account. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our account, where we post regular updates of our past and upcoming events. If you missed out on this one, don’t fret. There will be many more to come!

Why did you decide to come to the workshop?

Most participants were there out of pure interest. Some had been learning about depression and mental wellbeing for some time now, while others were curious in exploring what this field was all about. One commented that understanding this field would be beneficial in her line of work, as it helped her better communicate and understand the people she worked with.

What do you hope to learn from today’s talk?

Some of the participants didn’t have any expectations, and they simply just hoped to learn something new. Others hoped to learn about coping methods when under pressure, to better properly relief burdens, and to discuss such topics with people in the local community and connect with people.

What is your experience with mental health like?

There was a variety of answers to this: some are under a lot of stress, some had experienced or have experienced depression themselves and some have lost loved ones in the past. No matter the answer, one thing was for sure: everyone has come in contact with depression or mental health in all shapes and forms. This only goes to show how pervading this subject is in our society, and the need for such discussion.

Is mental health a relevant topic of discussion? Why?

A common theme between the participants’ answers was that the discussion surrounding mental health is extremely relevant, now more than ever.

In order to be a “whole person,” one must be both physically and mentally well. Whilst the physical part of it is more noticeable and so most people care more for it, the mental part of is often neglected. Yet, mental wellbeing is just as important, if not more.

Discussion helps people mitigate pressure. Living in Beijing, people lead fast-paced lives. Amidst the hustle and bustle, there is no luxury to pause and breathe. It is an especially relevant topic in the time now because pressure is very big, both in work and school. By learning ways to cope with stress and anxiety, you are more likely to be successful in leading a healthy life.

Discussion is also important to healing. Another participant raised the point that for those that are experiencing depression, many choose to not talk about it to others, denying the existence of such problems and retrieving to a “dark place”. But, this participant identified that such decisions would only worsen the situation, and that only by socializing and opening up, allowing yourself to be vulnerable can you heal.

Discussion overcomes taboo. One of the main reasons that were identified as to why there are so few platforms and so little resources that provide mental health support is because of the social taboo surrounding it. For those that see this problem, the best way to combat this is by attending and supporting community workshops like this one because it opens up discussion and eliminates the taboo nature of it.

What do you think could be done better in providing mental health support in our community?

A participant said that if not dealt with properly, more issues with arise. It is important to provide platforms to discuss and give advice to one another in helping them cope with mental health issues properly. Workshops as this CandleX one is the perfect example of how the community can get together to overcome this social taboo.

Some also said online resources would be useful. Click here to find a compilation of online resources and hotlines CandleX put together for your convenience.

One raised a good point that besides discussing mental health more, children should also be exposed to mental wellbeing at a younger age. If done in an appropriate manner, it would be very digestible for younger students to understand the importance and relevance of it in their daily lives, too.

If you’ve missed Mara’s presentation this time, do not miss the next one. We’d like to thank our friends from Rotaract for providing this opportunity and hosting this brilliant event with us. We hope everyone that participated learned something new from the talk, and we look forward to seeing even more of you at our event.

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