Mapúa University has initiated an online kapihan that provides a safe virtual space for informal healthy conversations within its community to help students and professors manage their stress and anxiety and have their concerns heard amid the ongoing pandemic.
The participants go online via Zoom and enter breakout rooms based on various topics they want to share about such as love, academics, family, self, sociopolitical issues, gaming, and online business, among others. All conversations are held confidential and kept between the individuals inside the rooms.
Mapua’s Online Kapihan is organized by the university’s School of Social Sciences and Education and its Student Council, and the Mapúa Psychological Society to encourage students to be involved in discussions and break the stigma regarding mental health.
Psychology and general education professor and student council adviser John Christopher D. Castillo explained that the online kapihan is a virtual sit-down session where participants can have quick chats with fellow students and professors not for a lecture but for casual conversations.
“We have been holding kapihan sessions even before the pandemic happened as part of our catching up with our students, and we would hold it during the seventh week of every term. Most student council members are fond of casual conversations over a cup of coffee, and that was how the idea came about. This activity combines their love for coffee and sharing stories, and we continue to do it virtually during this lockdown,” Castillo added.
“The activity encourages students to pause, breathe, and converse, or just listen. It gives them an opportunity to share what they are passionate about, what makes them happy, or anything that keeps them going,” noted Castillo, who is also the chair of the University’s Understanding the Self and Gender & Society cluster.
“We want this activity to be a reminder that there are people willing to listen. Most importantly, our mental and emotional battles do not have to be fought alone,” he added.
The Mapua initiative comes after the 2020 National Center for Mental Health report about a significant increase in hotline calls regarding depression and suicide-related concerns and the Department of Health’s encouragement for Filipinos, not only students, to be more involved in discussions and break the stigma regarding mental health.
The University of the Philippines started offering online counseling services to frontliners and their families amid the coronavirus outbreak last year while De La Salle University offered to counsel its academic community.
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Mapúa University as it opens a safe virtual space for students and faculty to have conversations about their concerns.
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