Photo by Nate Mendoza

Help is here: SC aims to form support group for ALS community

The Ateneo Law Student Council concluded the month-long mental health awareness celebration with a Brown Bag Session held last October 26, 2018 at the Blue Room, Ateneo Professional Schools.

Photo by Nate Mendoza

The event, in partnership with Happy Hour Philippines and Introspect, aimed to create a support group within the law school community — composed of students who are undergoing mental illnesses and those who are not diagnosed but are willing to lend a helping hand.

Dexter Galban and Via Roderos, both medical students from the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and at the same time representatives of Happy Hour Philippines, facilitated the support group activities throughout the event. Student volunteers from Introspect likewise helped in stirring discussion among the support groups.


Photo by Nate Mendoza

Happy Hour is a recurring mental health support event for young professionals in Metro Manila founded by medical students and medical professionals. It aims to provide safe spaces for people who are currently experiencing mental health problems and high levels of stress. Moreover, it hopes to bring mental health services outside the hospital and into the comforts of your neighborhoods through a support group system.

Introspect, on the other hand, is a mental health youth organization focused on advocating and promoting responsible social media use by creating online safe spaces and providing solutions to develop mental wellness.

The entire session was filled with fruitful discussion, sharing, and opening up among the support groups. This allowed the participants to relax and feel comfortable in the company of others.

Photo by Nate Mendoza

“It focused on helping us understand that it is normal to get tired, to cry, and to fail. The fact that we pull ourselves back up is what matters even though most of the time, it would take a lot of emotional strength to do that. And so, the session left us a message that we need to value our mental health in order to manage that pull every single day,” Alga San Diego of 2D said.

“While it is the culminating event for the Mental Health Month project, it is also, hopefully, the start of a support group in Ateneo Law which meets once or twice a month. The Student Council and the Mental Health Month Team acknowledge the fact that whatever mental health advocacies we have should not end with October, the Mental Health Month, but should be there as a constant initiative,” Yen Rase added.

Photo by Nate Mendoza

SC President Rob Escalante said that, “It’s been too long that Ateneo has gone on without a proper support system for students that have mental health concerns — be it diagnosed or undiagnosed. More than anything else, by making efforts to create a support group, we create a community that fosters acceptance and recognition for those who experience mental illnesses and difficulties.

As the line goes — no health without mental health. There has been a strong movement for the recognition of mental health issues as legitimate and serious, and finally, the students and the administration of the Ateneo Law School have likewise been recognizing this fact.

This year’s mental health month was only the beginning to what we hope would be a long era of welcoming with warm concern of all types of problems that the ALS students undergo without discounting or discrimination.”

ALS is doing its part in taking care of the welfare of its student community by creating a support group where students can share their personal experiences and get encouragement from — making the school a safe space for everyone. #

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