HEC, United Nations Development Programme, Australian High Commission, and Sehat Kahani inaugurated three Wellness Centres in universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
KPK (Peshawar, Topi, Mansehra): Sehat Kahani, with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), HEC and the Australian High Commission in Pakistan (AHC), inaugurated three Wellness Centres in leading universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under its Mental Health Initiative to extend holistic mental health counselling and support services to the students on 9th June 2021.
These Wellness Centres, with a dynamic approach to mental health and wellness, were constructed at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) in Peshawar, GIKI University in Topi, and Hazara University in Mansehra. Under this initiative, the students are not only provided with a Wellness Centre consisting of an in-person counselling vicinity and a recreational centre, but the faculty is also trained by Mental Health Experts of Sehat Kahani on providing first aid mental health counselling in these rooms. Furthermore, to ensure that mental health support is always available to the students, Sehat Kahani has provided all of the university students with free access to the Sehat Kahani E-Health Application where national and international Mental Health Experts can be consulted with complete privacy and confidentiality 24/7. The inauguration of the Wellness Centre was graced by Professor Dr. Razia Sultana, Vice-Chancellor, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University; Mr. Sardar Ali Amin, Honorable Rector, GIKI University; Professor Dr. Jamil Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor, Hazara University; Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram, CEO, and Cofounder, Sehat Kahani; Social Inclusion Officer, UNDP Islamabad Mr. Ezat and Senior Social Inclusion Officer UNDP Youth Empowerment Programme, Mr. Hamza.
During the inauguration ceremony at SBBWU, Professor Dr. Razia Sultana appreciated the initiative and its importance specifically amidst COVID-19 by saying, “I am very happy to see this unique initiative being executed in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar. Initiatives like these are most crucial and important for our women students especially during these testing times of the pandemic when the university campus is not accessible for students along with the support and assistance. The Wellness Centre along with the 24/7 availability of online Mental Health Experts at Sehat Kahani will enable our students to seek support and help whenever and wherever they feel the need to do so.”
Honorable Rector, Sardar Amin during his closing remarks at the inauguration in GIK University added, “As an internationally renowned university which provides students with on-campus hostel facilities, GIK sees a lot of potential in this initiative of an in-house Wellness Centre blended with online counseling services to ensure that students can seek help with trust and anonymity for their mental health concerns. We look forward to making a positive impact on the academic and personal lives of students with the inauguration of this Wellness Centre in GIK Institute. The Institute expresses its gratitude to Sehat Kahani and UNDP and AHC for their assistance in this regard.”
Professor Dr. Jamil Ahmad participated in an in-app video consultation with Sehat Kahani’s Psychiatrist on the E-Health Application placed in each Wellness Centre. Thoroughly impressed with the service, he added, “The idea of a recreational space along with a counselling room at Hazara University, Mansehra adds tremendous value to the well-established Psychology Department at our University. With this blended approach towards mental health counselling, we hope that our students from all fields of study can come together and create a more impactful and much-needed dialogue on the importance of mental health amongst each other and combat the stigmas attached to seeking professional help.”
Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram strongly believes in combating the stigmas attached to help-seeking behaviours for mental well-being. She said, “Sehat Kahani, through this partnership with UNDP, HEC, and KP Universities, aims to reach out to each and every student in the province who requires mental health counseling and wellbeing support. We want to ensure that professional help is available and accessible through creative and sustainable platforms.”
A recorded video message from Laura Sheridan, Program Manager, UNDP was played during the inauguration where she applauded the zeal and interest with which this initiative was implemented by Sehat Kahani and accepted by the universities. She said, “On behalf of UNDP, I would like to thank Vice Chancellor and entire faculty of the university for actively participating in this initiative, to Sehat Kahani for the quick work during a difficult period to bring different standards of the program together in a comprehensive platform for the students and the AHC for their support to this important work. We hope to scale up this model to other universities across KP as well as others at the national level.”