First Lady Fazna Ahmed on Monday encouraged Maldivian students to pursue careers in the field of mental health, stating that there are avenues of career advancement in this field. She made these remarks while speaking at the closing ceremony of the "Peer Support Squad" training programme conducted by the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Maldives National University (MNU).
The First Lady stated that the number of Maldivians working in the mental health field is disproportionate to the number of available opportunities. She emphasised the need for psychologists in the country and encouraged graduating students to pursue a career path in this field. She noted that having local psychologists would remove the language barrier, allowing mental health patients to speak directly with their doctors or therapists without the use of an interpreter. The First Lady urged psychology students to continue their studies beyond the bachelor's degree level and to get the necessary licences to practise.
In her speech, the First Lady stated that psychologists are not the only people who can help mental health patients and that anyone working in healthcare can assist by being compassionate and caring towards those who seek help. She added that providing mental health support should be a collective effort.
The First Lady said that there are situations where mental health patients do not have a suitable environment at home and reiterated the need for mental health specialists. She also commended the work of the Faculty of Health Sciences and expressed her hope for a more compassionate and caring society.
At the ceremony, First Lady Fazna Ahmed presented certificates to Faculty of Health Sciences students who had completed the "Peer Support Squad" training. She also watched a performance presented by faculty students at the event.
The students who complete the "Peer Support Squad" training programme are trained to organise peer support meetings for the faculty students. Peer support meetings are held to raise awareness about mental health issues and are open to all students in the faculty.