COVID-19 not only impacted individuals but also the system; it was an institutional anxiety. Due to this, everyone was impacted so were the students, and their daily lives, specifically personal and academic aspects. Though post-covid intensity has been lessened, stress and anxiety are prevalent so furiously due to the economic crisis and inflation, which is affecting students emotional well-being, academic performance and learning outcomes. In this regard, a conversation with Dr. Asim Shah was organized by Habib University to deal with the depression and anxiety of students.
Dr. Asim Shah is a psychiatrist by profession and the recipient of multiple awards for clinical care and teaching. He is the Executive Vice Chair and Professor, Baylor College of Medicine and is a prominent supporter of Habib University within the Pakistani community in Houston. The conversation was organized at the Office of Academic Performance (OAP), in which, Health and Wellness Centre, Ehsas Centre, and Faculty participated, shared their experiences, and asked questions for more improvement and clearance.
Dr. Asim said, life has changed after the pandemic and everyone needs to take care of one’s physical and emotional health as anxiety and depression have been quite common. He emphasized to not use the word “Mental or Mental Health” and instead of it, one should use, “Emotional health” or any other substitute.
He said that Habib University is one of the very few universities which are taking care of students’ emotional health and guided how Habib University can further improve and develop. Answering a question, he said that, teachers should not share their boundaries and keep their biases aside, and that will help students.
Adding further, he said, electronic media has positive and negative impacts; a lot of bullying goes on frequently on social media and in everyday life, if someone is small, they will be bullied, if someone is tall, they will be bullied too, this is everywhere. Many students are coming from different socio-economic and educational backgrounds, and they may go through performance anxiety, and dealing with it is very necessary.
Zain Abbas from the Health and Wellness gave an overview of their department and how it is facilitating students free of cost. He said that they counsel students, organize awareness programs, carry out group discussions, and much more. Dr. Asim suggested how further they can improve by increasing the capacity of counsellors, telling students to use apps like Self-Help, Talk-Space, etc. for enhanced students emotional well-being.
He also emphasized counselling faculty and staff, if they are not healthy emotionally, it may be disturbing for the university. There is a lot of stigmas about emotional health and we all need to overcome this.