Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR
WHAT IS YOUR SPECIFIC AREA OF INTEREST IN YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY?
Positive Psychology - Mindfulness & Gratitude Advocacy
WHY IS YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I feel empowered since I accepted my own mental health condition and was able to find healthy coping mechanisms that work for me. I would like to empower the young people in my community that we can lead a meaningful life even if we have mental health challenges.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
A lot of young people in my community are experiencing anxiety/depression or have experienced this one point in their life, but the professional help is extremely limited and not affordable in my country. At the same time, the ideas of mental health are not widely understood/accepted among parents/guardians and the wider community, such as schools.
PROPOSED FELLOWSHIP PROJECT
Project: ‘Befriending Your Mind Through Mindfulness’
I plan to implement my advocacy project by providing anxiety and mindfulness related information through Gamlangchai online platform, face-to-face workshops for Gamlangchai followers, and mental health activities run by other organisations.
I wish to use my project to promote the understanding of anxiety to reduce the stigma towards the condition, to empower the individuals experiencing it, as well as to shed light on the benefits of mindfulness as one of the useful tools that can help young people develop mental and emotional resilience to get through difficult times.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions that many young people face in Laos. Unfortunately, the understanding of the condition is very limited among the community. Some people do not even believe that anxiety is 'real'. Individuals with anxiety are often misunderstood and labelled to be 'lazy', 'weird', or 'weak'. Due to the lack of understanding, and the inadequate information available in Lao language, combined with limited professional support in the community, some young people with anxiety turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to get themselves distracted or numbed to avoid the unpleasant feelings and emotions.
Mindfulness can be a useful tool that can help young people with anxiety build mental and emotional resilience. As we know that life has ups and downs, one of the most important things is to have the mental strength to bounce back from life's setbacks. Mindfulness, when practiced and cultivated overtime, can strengthen the practitioners' mental and emotional resilience to maintain positive outlook and reduce the chances of being overwhelmed by stressful emotions.