Think Pacific: Students support Mental Health in Fiji
Think Pacific, a voluntary organisation that enables young people to work alongside Fijian communities and Fijian youths on local initiatives, have adapted to meet the times and with partners in Fiji now run virtual internships as a way of continuing to provide students with real-life project work and undertake development work that makes a difference on the ground in Fiji.
The internships our students have taken part in through the partnership with Think Pacific links directly to our work to provide added value to the degree. Second year students this year have also acquired the CMI Coaching award as part of their study. This further work has seen students directly apply their learning and skills around mental health improvement and in doing so enhance their CV and portfolio of practice.
Hear more from the students that took part:
Rebecca Alvey"I found the Think Pacific Virtual Internship to be an amazing experience as, not only was I doing something productive during my summer in lockdown, I was also able to work with people in a way that provided me with the opportunity to potentially help people suffering from mental health conditions in Fiji. Fiji is defiantly a country that needs our support to help improve not only their mental health itself, but also the stigma surrounding it.
I worked on a project for Suicide Prevention for an organisation called Lifeline Fiji. The project aim was to create a social media campaign that Lifeline Fiji could potentially use to help with mental health in Fijiand to reach a larger audience who may not go out to seek the help that they need to cope with thier mental health. The use of social media could be that thing that pushes someone to seek the help that they truly need to improve their mental health.
I feel as though this experience has somewhat changed me as an individual due to the fact that it has helped me to prioritise and has also made me realise that I want to work with people with mental health conditions, regardless of the setting. I like the idea of being able to help people improve their mental wellbeing, however small the impact I may have. This experience has also helped me with my own self-motivation as it was crucial to ensure all the work was completed to the best of my ability in the time frame that I selected (8 weeks). This is something I will benefit from in the future, especially in this coming semester with university being online. It has given me a more positive outlook on how things can still be achieved effectively without direct contact. Furthermore, the mentor meetings have helped me somewhat overcome my fear of telephone conversations. My mentor from Think Pacific was so warm and supportive it made the experience so much better and it resulted in me actually looking forward to my meetings with her.
Although I did not actually go to Fiji and it was all online it was still an amazing experience. Think Pacific are doing so much as an organisation and it was an honour to be a part of what they are trying to achieve, even if it were only for 8 weeks of the summer. This experience made the COVID-19 lockdown enjoyable and something I would not change for the world."
Hear about Sammi's internship experience:
The feedback from partners in Fiji about the quality of work has been exemplary and as a result we will be embedding further internships into a final year module this year to help prepare our graduates.
Chris’ role is to lead and support academic colleagues in the Psychological Therapies & Mental Health subject group to deliver a portfolio of academic activity; high quality teaching; a first class student experience; impactful research activity; generating income through knowledge transfer, and; flourishing external partnerships.
Chris joined Leeds Beckett in 2007 as Associate Dean with portfolio for School wide development of Research and Enterprise. His tenure saw the School deliver the highest research income in the University (measured either by total £ value or £ per academic FTE), establish a successful research sabbatical programme and secure numerous collaborative funded partnerships with local organisations.