Mental health is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st Century. Mental illness, unlike any other medical conditions, is often overlooked due to lacking of understanding the biochemical basis of mental illnesses. Hence, there has been missing of awareness in the community, resulted in a global burden of mental illness.
Vietnam is not an exception. Roughly 3.6 million Vietnamese citizens are suffering from depression, accounting for four per cent of the total population(1). Based on studies conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015, those statistics were revealed during a meeting to mark World Health Day at a secondary school in Hanoi. Each year, approximately 5,000 people in Vietnam and other 800,000 of worldwide population commit suicide; surprisingly, depression is one of the leading causes(2), said the study.
In such circumstances, we, dedicated students of the Medical School of Tan Tao University, would like to make a change. Not only we understand that in the field of education; but mental health also plays a major role in maintaining and improving the quality of students. Stemming from the need of raising the awareness of mental health, our purpose is to aid our fellow students in dealing with emotional affairs as well as mental senses. Furthermore, we hope to contribute into creating a better and safer social and study environment, so that, our future physicians can maximize their potentials and succeed in the future. Thus, with permission and strong support from Prof. Thach Nguyen, Acting Provost of Tan Tao University, Dean of School of Medicine, the SAFETY AND WELLNESS COMMITTEE (SWEC) is built.
The goals of SWEC are:
- Providing peer support to students; advocating for student’s mental and physical health
- Raising awareness of common mental health and behavioral problems in a medical school setting through meaningful and helpful symposia
- Providing students with a means of expressing their emotions and thoughts; getting back valuable, case-by-case feedback in order to improve their current predicament.
Our committee is developed with 6 board members and 6 consultants. Our consultants include experts and physicians in Psychology department, Psychiatric department from Vietnam and the US. They come from a wide variety of sectors with a wealth of experience of dealing with different psychological situations. SWEC board members include a psychiatrist, a TTU lecturer, and students, specifically at least one student from each class from 3rd year to 6th year.
SWEC executes based on 3 main principles that everything has to be Confidential, Non-judgmental and Not affecting academic status of students.
You are not alone. We care!
(1): Jill Murphy, Elliot M. Goldner, Charles H. Goldsmith. Selection of depression measures for use among Vietnamese populations in primary care settings: a scoping review. International Journal of Mental Health System. 2015 https://ijmhs.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13033-015-0024-8
(2): Dat Tan Nguyen, Christine Dedding, Tam Thi Pham. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among Vietnamese secondary school students and proposed solutions: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Heath. 2013; 13: 1195.