As the demands and pressures of academic life continue to mount, students are increasingly recognizing the importance of fostering mental well-being. One effective approach that has gained popularity in recent years is the practice of “Mental and Emotional Health Collaborative Dialogue.” This innovative technique encourages open and honest conversations about mental health, allowing students to share their experiences, challenges and solutions.
On Nov. 1, Kirkwood Community College conducted a collaborative dialogue discussion on “Mental and Emotional Health & Flourishing.” Shawnacy Kiker Perez, English instructor, led the program by giving an opening on the mental and emotional health effects on students’ lives.
Kiker Perez said, “Academic stress, social pressures and the transitional phases of life can take a toll on a students’ mental health.” She added, “In response to these challenges, students have started turning to mental collaborative dialogue as a means of providing emotional support and fostering a more empathetic and compassionate community.”
Participants at the collaborative dialogue event had an opportunity to discuss about the kind of effects that poor mental health can have on someone’s life, what helps in those difficult spaces and in what ways one can help others to overcome those barriers.
One of the participants, Beyda Ortiz, early childhood education, said, “Recognizing the difficulty that is being faced and having a conversation with the supported people will help to get out of that barrier.”
The event also addressed how students may have witnessed the transformative power of mental health collaborative dialogue in their own lives or in the lives of their peers. It has helped them in better understanding mental health, reducing feelings of isolation and providing them with practical strategies for managing stress and anxiety. Moreover, it has instilled a sense of responsibility to be a supportive friend and advocate for mental health awareness.
Mental collaborative dialogue is a valuable tool for students in their pursuit of mental well-being. By fostering open and honest conversations about mental health, they created a more empathetic and compassionate community.
The event promoted that as students, we can collectively work toward a brighter, healthier future where mental health is prioritized and stigma is reduced. It is time for all educational institutions to recognize this approach’s importance and support its growth, for the students and society’s benefit.