Paul Boonmak genuinely cares about the mental health of students and does so much to break down stigma. In our 1st tutorial, Paul acknowledged the difficulty of living during a pandemic and how it can impact your mental health and he made it known he was a resource that could be accessed not just for school-related assistance but also as a friend and someone to talk to. He would also consistently do mental health check-ins throughout the semester and really tried to help students feel like they were supported and ease their anxieties. Almost every tutorial he would start with let's take a breath and break down everything into smaller pieces, as well as discuss that it's okay to be feeling anxious right now.
To me, mental health is the ability to be yourself. Having good mental health frees you up to explore, learn, and reach your full potential.
I really do think that every little thing counts when it comes to promoting mental health. You never really know what the person right in front of you is going through, so it's important to me that I provide or show comfort to anyone I interact with--whether that's just asking how they are doing, being there, or just listening. Educators have a larger role in supporting students than we often think we have. From my experience, students want to do well in class and are under a lot of pressure. Most of the time they just want us to acknowledge that we care, and that's what I try to do for every session that I run--whatever small things I do. These things alleviate some of the stresses; and with lower stress, students learn much better.
Not just students, but most people don't realize that there are more people that go through the same stress that they are going through. Start by sharing your stories with people around you--family, friends, etc. and you'll start to learn that we are all going through tough times together. You're never alone!
--- Paul Boonmak