We have officially expanded the Mana Maali initiative to create healthier minds on college campuses across our 4 BITS campuses, expanding our presence from India to Dubai!
For the last month, we have made available an online survey that students can use to self-assess their anxiety / stress level. Upon completion, those identified as having higher than average levels of anxiety (based on their responses in the survey) were offered the opportunity to get connected to one of our online, guided programs for mental wellness. To recap, these online guided programs, developed by Lantern, contain information about anxiety and how it develops as well as tools and techniques that one can practice to better manage anxiety. They also come paired with an online program guide — this is a mental health professional in India who supports students as they work through the program by providing customized feedback via telephone and messaging in the program.
Students who were identified as having higher levels of anxiety and signed up to use a program + coach have just begun and will work with their coach over the rest of the semester. We will make the online self-assessment survey available once again during the next semester at the start of the 2016. We know university life comes with ups and downs, and we want to make sure students have access to additional avenues of support during their time of need. In the future, our aim is to keep this self-assessment survey open throughout the year.
While privacy and accessibility is a core benefit to this online approach, we know it is just as important to raise awareness about mental health and wellness in the community, on the ground. Therefore, on each campus we have a team of Mana Maali mental health ambassadors — these are students who have volunteered to represent Mana Maali on campus and raise awareness about the importance of cultivating and fostering healthy mental wellness (just as we do for physical wellness and cognitive wellness).
On the BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus, on August 15, 2015, Mana Maali partnered with Sports Club to co-host an Independence Day BITSRun, bringing students’ attention to the physical AND mental benefits of running.
This past weekend at the BITS Pilani, Dubai campus, to commemorate World Mental Health Day, Mana Maali partnered with the Social & Environment Club to co-organize a “Living Inside Out” campaign. Students wore t-shirts, balloons, or stickers displaying their response to “What makes you anxious?”
The professors got involved, demonstrating anxiety is a common feeling amongst us all:
Director Saha shared his anxiety as well!
You’ll hear more from the Mana Maali ambassadors who coordinated this event — stay tuned!