UPLB, SEARCA host mental health workshop

IN collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Graduate School and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) organized a workshop on coping strategies for mental health at the SEARCA headquarters in College, Los Baños, Laguna on Jan. 9, 2024.

According to SEARCA director Glenn Gregorio, the workshop titled "New Year, New You: Coping Strategies to Improve Mental Health" also highlighted the collaboration between UPLB and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

UPLB and UPM are both members of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resource (UC), with SEARCA serving as its secretariat.

Dr. Firdaus Mukhtar serves as the UC coordinator for UPM. He is professor of Clinical Psychology and deputy dean for Admission, Institutional Relations and Financial Aid Unit at the School of Graduate Studies at UPM, and president of the Asian Cognitive Behavior Therapies Association.

On the other hand, UPLB Graduate School dean Dr. Jomar Rabajante serves as UC coordinator for UPLB.

Spearheading the workshop, Firdaus guided the attendees with her expertise on effective ways to manage their mental health.

During the session, she also discussed the distinction between mental health and mental illness and provided a comprehensive overview of common mental disorders.

Sharing the different factors contributing to poor mental health, Firdaus also offered practical insights into implementing coping strategies, including simple exercises.

Gregorio noted that the workshop seamlessly blended informative lectures and instructional videos with hands-on activities to create an engaging and interactive learning environment.

He said the consortium continuously fosters collaboration among top agricultural universities, facilitating the free exchange of information, facilities, and expertise, through joint activities.

Gregorio also noted that the event not only addressed the vital aspects of mental health but also "underscored the collaborative efforts of the UC in pursuing academic excellence and the holistic development of individuals in the Southeast Asian region."