GCU turning spotlight on
mental health issues
The Government College University Lahore has
turned the spotlight on the mental health; organizing a week
long activities to highlight and deliberate upon the issues
related to human thinking, behaviors and social well-being.
The GCU Mental Health Week (MHW) celebrations, organized by
the university’s Dr Ajmal Society Physiological Society and
Psychology Department, includes a three-day International
Conference on Health Psychology, besides an awareness walk,
pre-conference workshop, invited lectures and
inter-universities performing arts competition.
However, the GCU-MHW 2017 celebrations began
with a poster exhibition inaugurated by Vice Chancellor Prof
Dr Hassan Amir Shah. “Self-care isn’t selfish: it’s
self-preservation,” reads one of the many posters put on
display the psychology students from twelve different
educational institutions including Punjab University, BNU
Lahore, GCU Faisalabad, Islamia University Bhalwapur and
Lahore College for Women University. The posters highlighted
the key values that helped people in avoiding stress, anger
and drug addictions, and staying positive in negative
In her inaugural address, GCU Psychology
Department Chairperson Dr Syed Shahida Batool said that they
all faced professional stress, social and interpersonal
constraints and security challenges, and above all they were
fighting the war against terrorism and this all had a very
negative impact on their mental health. “So, activities this
year mental health week intends to carry out are very
effective as one-way or other to safeguard our mental health
by undertaking our mind and social needs and indulging us in
relaxing healthy activities,” he said.
Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah said
the besides academic and professional debate, the mental
health week provided a platform to the students of GCU and
other universities to show their innovation and creativity,
which was somehow discouraged in our formal education
system. He says that the students do their catharsis in the
form of creative posters, mimes, play etc., which help them
to express their pent-up emotions as a nation and as an
individual, and it has payback in the form of their
emotional and mental health. “It is also the source of
knowledge sharing,” he added.
Later, the Vice Chancellor gave away prizes
and certificates to the winners of the poster competition.
Arts Festival at GCU
As a part of its Mental Health Week celebrations, the
Government College University Lahore (GCU) Dr Ajmal
Psychological Society organized a Performing Arts
Festival on the theme of ‘positive psychology’. About eight
teams of different colleges and universities participated in
the theatrical festival to project the conflict between good
and evil forces within a human mind. Lahore College for
Women University’s performance was most appreciated by the
audience. It revolved around the story of an argument
between the devils (of anger, hatred and greed) and angels
(of love, hope and generosity) which were trying to lure a
human mind with their rewards.
The Beconhouse University staged a play about the miseries
of man suffering from a psychological ailment, and
ultimately finds a way out from his superstitions and
hallucinations in Sufism. The script tried to highlight the
unexplained and mysterious healing power in Sufism.
The University of Central Punjab staged a play about people
who called themselves spiritual healers and misguided people
in the name of religion. The GCU Psychology Department
presented a mime touching on Sufi traditions.
Speaking on the occasion, GCU Psychology Department
Chairperson Dr. Syeda Salma Hasan said theatre, besides a
source of entertainment and joy, was also a best available
method to communicate a message to the society, and it must
be used in Pakistan to promote positive thinking and values
of tolerance, generosity and forgiveness.