Dhaka University grapples with student well-being at alumni-organized festival

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Dhaka University grapples with student well-being at alumni-organized festival

Jisan Al Jubair:

In the bustling heart of Dhaka University, a quiet revolution unfolded on Saturday. The Dhaka University Alumni Association (DUAA) joined hands with the university to host a Wellness Festival, tackling the sensitive and often-neglected issue of mental health among students.

The event, buzzing with activity and introspective discussions, underscored the growing concern about the mental well-being of young adults navigating the pressures of academia, social life, and adapting to urban life.

A Call for Scholarships and Mental Health Support:

Vice-Chancellor Maksud Kamal opened the dialogue with a bold statement, stressing the need for scholarships as a preventive measure against students resorting to “negative activities.” He commended the DUAA’s initiative, acknowledging, “Thanks to the DUAA for arranging such a program.”

Anwar ul Alam Chowdhury Parvez, President of the DUAA, echoed the Vice-Chancellor’s sentiment, emphasizing the inseparable link between mental and physical health. “Special attention needs to be paid to mental health,” he declared, acknowledging the challenges faced by students transitioning to city life. 

He highlighted the need for support in basic necessities like food, money, and communication, and cautioned against the potential harm of technology on mental well-being.

Reframing the Narrative: From Mental Health to Wellness:

In a thought-provoking session, DU psychology professor Salim Hossain proposed a shift in terminology, advocating for the use of “wellness” instead of “mental health.” This subtle change, he argued, fosters a more positive and proactive approach to mental well-being. 

He emphasized the importance of self-expression as a tool to combat stress and anxiety, and highlighted the role of understanding love languages in building meaningful connections.

A Multifaceted Approach to Wellness:

The festival went beyond lectures and discussions, offering a diverse range of activities and resources. Booths addressed various aspects of physical and mental well-being, from fitness and mindfulness to digital wellbeing, relationship advice, and stress management. 

Art therapy offered an outlet for creative expression, while a “scream box” provided a safe space for emotional release.

The event resonated with students and alumni alike. Mahfuza, an alumna, lauded the informative sessions and shared her experience taking a psychology test. Moazzem Hossain, an alumni executive member, appreciated the counseling services available for students facing personal or relationship issues. 

Student Farzana Alom, who participated in various activities, expressed feeling lighter and more relieved after the festival.

The presence of prominent figures like Mohammed Ali, CEO of Pubali Bank, and Emranul Hoque, CEO of Dhaka Bank, further underscored the significance of addressing student well-being.

A Step Forward in Mental Health Awareness:

The Dhaka University Wellness Festival, a collaborative effort between the university and its alumni, served as a beacon of hope in addressing the often-overlooked issue of student mental health. By offering valuable resources, fostering open dialogue, and promoting a positive approach to well-being, the event marked a significant step forward in creating a more supportive and nurturing environment for Dhaka University’s young minds.

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