LIFE as a young adult can be very challenging.
The changes in the body and environment as they move from a structured school environment to college and university can sometimes be an overwhelming experience.
As a young adult, it is easier to talk about their issues with someone who is of their age or has a mindset like them, rather than with an adult. This makes peer counselling very effective, as it helps the adolescent comfortable to take that first step in addressing their problem or any issues.
Manipal University College Malaysia (MUCM) recently launched MUCM Peers which consists of 32 students from all MUCM’s programmes.
MUCM, which is one of the oldest providers of private healthcare education in Malaysia, is cognisant of what the future needs and holds for her students. An extension of Manipal Group from India, established in 1953, MUCM is celebrating its 25th anniversary in September 2022.
This pioneer group of MUCM Peers was selected after extensive interviews, as well as academic and extracurricular performance checking.
The MUCM Peers is the embodiment of student mental health, wellbeing, and support system framework focus under the Counselling Unit, Student Services.
“Mental health is an invisible, easily misunderstood state of mind.
“Being with my colleagues I've come to the realisation that most of them are fighting their own silent battles daily,” said Kottegodage Supipi Peumali Perera who hails from Sri Lanka and is in the fourth year of her medical studies.
“I stepped up as a volunteer to help my friends to ensure that they are not alone. An illness whether it be of the heart, leg, or brain is still an illness.
“Mental health issues need to be given the same priority as any other illness. I hope to help break the stigma around mental health by joining MUCM Peers,” she added.
MUCM Peers will play a large role in the character development of the peers as they will play an assisting role in the planning, implementation, and review of programmes and initiatives by the Counselling Unit, Student Services to achieve its vision.
MUCM Peers will be trained and equipped with basic counselling skills, effective communication skills, helping skills, and many more.
Luvendrn V.Reviindran, a Foundation in Science student, has already experienced the positive impact of MUCM Peers.
He said, “I got to meet a lot of new people all of whom are incredibly diverse in terms of personality.
“Despite the movement being in its early stages, I can already feel the impact it will have on the students and us as peers and it gives me a sense of joy and satisfaction.”
The study of Medicine or Dentistry is a marathon and not a sprint.
“A support system is important as you pursue your path to become future healthcare professionals.
“It has been proven to increase your self-esteem, improve your coping skills, have higher levels of well-being, and reduce depression, anxiety, and stress.
“A strong support system will help you go when things get tough, whether psychologically or emotionally, which is why we are delighted to introduce MUCM Peers to our students,” said MUCM’s vice chancellor Prof Dr Patrick Kee at the launch event.
This sentiment was echoed by Sabrina Teo Muhammad Teo, a second-year medical student as she reflected on her role as a MUCM Peer.
“Life will demand you to do the work, for you to understand yourself, for you to heal even when it hurts.
“For you to be brave, for you to fight for yourself. With a little help from your peers.”
For more information on its programmes, call 1700-811-662 or visit www.manipal.edu.my