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KNUST Launches App for Mental Health, Partners with Johnson & Johnson

Innovative Mobile Counseling for Students to Tackle Mental Health Issues

by Adenike Adeodun

In a pioneering move to bolster student welfare, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has unveiled a cutting-edge mobile application designed to streamline access to counselling services for its students. This digital initiative, poised to bridge the gap between students and mental health resources, reflects KNUST’s commitment to fostering a supportive academic environment conducive to both personal and educational development.

Scheduled to be complemented by a toll-free hotline, this service aims to provide a confidential and easily accessible avenue for students grappling with a range of concerns, with a particular focus on mental health issues. Spearheaded by the KNUST Counseling Centre (KCC) in collaboration with the global healthcare leader Johnson & Johnson, this initiative marks a significant milestone in the University’s efforts to support its students’ holistic well-being.

The announcement was made by Mrs. Victoria De-Graft Adjei, Head of the KCC, during an Academic Life Seminar for Students and the Resilient Minds Future Leaders Programme, which took place at KNUST’s Great Hall in Kumasi on Thursday, March 21, 2024. This initiative is not only timely but also aligns with the broader objectives of nurturing resilient mindsets among students, empowering them to achieve their academic and personal aspirations.

Integral to this initiative is the Resilient Minds programme, which aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on Good Health and Well-being. By focusing on the early intervention and capacity building among healthcare professionals, the programme aims to create a more supportive environment for addressing mental health concerns within the academic community.

Highlighting the collaborative spirit underpinning this venture, KNUST alumnus Mr. Emmanuel Asante Antwi, now a Key Account Manager at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership. The initiative also garnered support from Professor Wilson Agyei Asare, Director of the Directorate of Student Affairs (DoSA), and Reverend Professor Frances Emily Owusu-Ansah, representing the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo. Reverend Professor Owusu-Ansah underscored the critical importance of mental health management within the University, referencing WHO statistics that underscore the prevalence of mental health issues among Ghanaians.

The initiative’s overarching aim is to dismantle the stigma surrounding mental health, enhance the overall health of the University community, and improve the quality of life for its members. In line with this goal, Mr. Rabbi Darko, a Counsellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, shared insights on achieving academic excellence. His presentation, titled “Becoming a Grade ‘A’ Student”, emphasized the importance of goal setting, effective study strategies, and the cultivation of consistent, proactive planning and time management skills.

Furthermore, Ms Akua Afriyie Addae, a Clinical Psychologist at KNUST, addressed the theme “Identifying and Supporting Peers in Distress”. She shed light on common stressors among students, such as financial difficulties, familial issues, relationship challenges, and addiction. Ms Addae encouraged students to remain vigilant for signs of distress among their peers, advocating for a community-oriented approach to mental health that leverages peer support as a pivotal component of the University’s wellness infrastructure.

Through this innovative mobile app and the comprehensive suite of support services it offers, KNUST and its partners, including Johnson & Johnson, are setting a new standard for mental health support in higher education. This initiative not only reflects a deep-seated commitment to student well-being but also represents a proactive step towards integrating mental health resources into the fabric of academic life. As KNUST continues to lead by example, its efforts underscore the critical role of mental health management in the pursuit of academic excellence and personal growth.

Source: Graphic Online

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