Kathmandu: The pandemic has worsened the mental health status of many people across the world. But it poses unique challenges in terms of socioeconomic and mental wellbeing to developing countries like Nepal. In light of this, a youth-led organization in Nepal has been creating space for conversations around the subject between Nepali and global youths.
On July 5, Youth Council in Action for Nation (YOUTH CAN), a non-profit youth organization, organized the second session of its series “Youth + Virtual Exchange on COVID Experience”. The series brings together like-minded youths from Nepal and Thailand, with support from UNDP. The second of the five sessions in the series focussed on mental health and wellbeing.
The speakers for the session were Ruslina Muleng, founder of Peace of Art, an organization that advocates the art of cooking as a method of therapy, and Angel Lama, Miss Pink Nepal 2018. Ayshanie Labe, Resident Representative of UNDP Nepal, and Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative of UNDP Thailand, sent their special messages for everyone present in the session.
Meyer appreciated the effort to engage youths from Thailand and Nepal in the session. He emphasized the importance of solidarity between members of the society, especially between youths, to get through a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Muleng outlined the benefits that culinary arts offer in eliminating stress and anxiety. “My project’s intention is to bring people together, physically or virtually, to cook and enjoy their time together,” she said, “where they also exchange their thoughts.”
Lama, the Miss Pink Nepal 2018, appreciated that the government had introduced its Mental Health Policy 2073 in line with the constitution and hoped for its effective implementation by prioritizing and scaling up its mental health-related activities.
Both speakers engaged in conversations with participants about how to deal with stress and anxiety when being socially isolated. During the session, youths from Nepal and Thailand engaged in cultural quizzes about each country and its young people’s lives.
Labe, the Resident Representative of UNDP Nepal, concluded the session by thanking all the people working to make the sessions possible, especially on a subject like mental health and wellbeing.
She further encouraged everyone involved to try to make lives easier for people in their communities by engaging in activities of service, however trivial.
“Each passing minute as we speak, a person is taking their own life somewhere in this world,” she said. “It is important now more than ever to take care of one’s mental health and of people around us.”