Name: Adrienne Gatt
Email: [email protected]
University: University of Malta
Medical Students Organisation: MMSA – Malta Medical Students Association
The Impact of SCORP’s Mental Health Awareness by the Malta Medical Students’ Association (MMSA)
The Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace (SCORP) promotes intercultural and interpersonal solidarity, highlighting and educating every individual’s entitlement to human rights. Access to basic mental health care and treatment is a basic human right. It is for this reason that one must fight the stigma around mental health issues. Serving as one of SCORP’s mental health peer education coordinators for the term of 2019/2020 with MMSA, I had the opportunity to experience the true impact that SCORP’s initiatives have on increasing mental health awareness amongst students of various ages. This was achieved both through the implementation of SCORP’s regular activities, as well as through new initiatives taken in the campaign delivered during my term as mental health coordinator.
The main basis of SCORP’s mental health awareness initiatives involves giving numerous talks in secondary schools all over Malta, targeting ages spanning from 12 to 18 years. These talks include both a general explanation on mental health and various mental health disorders, and also incorporate interactive case study discussions. These case studies include examples that students can relate to and, by means of discussions between the students and the MMSA members delivering the talk, students are made aware of the importance of mental health and how they can help those suffering from mental health problems. Through my experience of delivering, organising and coordinating these sessions in various schools, I have seen the impact that the presentations as well as the method of delivering the sessions have on the students’ understanding of the importance of mental health. Not only that, but these sessions have uncovered the extent to which students acknowledge the pressures experienced by many, whether related to stress as a result of studies or whether stemming from more serious mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
My term as SCORP’s mental health coordinator has given me the opportunity to contribute further by launching mental health sessions specifically targeting sports’ stress. This was mainly done to raise awareness about how mental health can also affect individuals through specific triggers. Just like one may find it difficult to focus, study and carry on with their lives due to their state of mental health, athletes can be limited due to underlying mental health issues. Therefore, sessions were introduced tackling how sports’ stress can impact one’s mental health. These received significant positive feedback and athletes provided us with examples of specific causes in their training impacting their mental health, enabling us to further improve our sessions.
Through SCORP’s year-long mental health campaign, I have learnt to appreciate the importance of keeping our mental health in check. Mental health is crucial to our wellbeing and we need to take care of ourselves as well as that of those around us. More importantly, we need to speak up about how we are feeling and seek help from family, friends and professionals in order to improve our state of wellbeing.