By: Nigel Garcia, RPm
Far Eastern University (FEU) Manila in a brave, progressive move approached MLAC to invite Dr.Honey Carandang, and her small team of highly trained psychologists, including Dr. Chris Carandang – the son of Dr. Honey, Dr. Rachel Ann “Richie” Parr, and Dr. Rosalea Cornelia “Uzi” De Leon to conduct a workshop on Mental Health. The program was designed to address the rampant epidemic of adolescent depression and suicide, which has experienced an unfortunate spike in recent years.
FEU invited a select group of 18 faculty members to join the workshop, including teachers, officers, and counselors, and have also graciously provided a venue for the program within the university campus. The group varied widely in their degree of experience and knowledge on mental health and counseling methods, but suffice to say, it was profoundly transformative for everyone in attendance.
Despite the program having only been conducted throughout a span of two days – a short time frame to attempt to cover such a wide-ranging topic, several key points were covered as comprehensively as possible as to aid these faculty members in identifying and dealing with people, most especially students, suffering from depression, and other psycho-emotional impediments.
These topics include: the common myths and misconceptions surrounding depression and mental health, the social stigma towards the diagnosis and treatment of such, the existence and utility of each person’s inner world and resources, The Seven Basic Psychological Needs (Dr.Honey Carandang, 2014), the fundamentals and basic skills in effective counseling, and the indispensable practice of mindfulness in fostering the ability of self-regulation, or emotional regulation.
Also, group activities were strategically incorporated as to put into practice, and to further inculcate the scientific principles covered throughout the program. The attendees were divided into small subgroups of about 5 to 6 people each as they engaged in practical activities such as role playing, art expression, and group sharing, the results of which were quite promising, to say the least.
It was a delight to see the degree of involvement and enthusiasm this heartful group had towards learning more about the hard to swallow reality of depression.
Also to be commended were their eagerness to put their bountiful takeaways into mindful practice, and to share them with their friends, families, and peers, altogether making the workshop a worthwhile success.