Tue, 04 Oct 2022

SUVA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Mental health stigma is deeply rooted and has become a major concern amongst the youths in Fiji, said mental health and disability advocate Rosie Catherine on Tuesday.

During the Youth Mental Health Forum 2022, Catherine said some of the contributing factors of mental health issues are due to financial problems, depression, stress, gender based violence and trauma, according to reports by the Fijivillage news website on Tuesday.

She said there are some youths and students who do not speak about their problems and issues as they feel shy or scared of being judged.

Therefore, to overcome and deal with these issues, there are university policies on students' well-being and creative safe spaces where students can express themselves through art, music and talk sessions to de-stress themselves.

Catherine said it is important that students do not give up hope and should always reach out to someone for help or seek a counsellor when feeling down.

President of the Fiji National University (FNU) Students Association Ketan Lal said FNU has a child protection policy, bully and harassment policy, counsellors and peer mentors in place for students who need counselling and support.

Lal said some of the mental health issues are due to education pressure, exam stress, workload pressure and relationship problems.

He said that more outreach and awareness programs are needed to further address such issues, and students need to be open-minded to get assisted and supported.

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