My Experience at TPO Nepal as a Youth Advisory Group Member
Author: Rinu Maharjan
Age: 20 years
Consent taken (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Youth Advisory Group Member, IDEA Project
Note: Youth Advisory Group is comprised of young people aged 10 to 24 years which includes but not limited to young people who are depressed, recovered/ non-depressed and have family/relatives/friends with depression. The group has been helping us to inform on the existing issues faced by young people with possible solutions, direction where the project is taking, interpretation of the results, sensitive and effective approaches to disseminate results to young people, their families and the wider public, and the potential future implementation of our findings in educational, public and health contexts. The group also caters stakeholder consultation to various mental health research projects and community based mental health programmes involving adolescents as primary beneficiaries. This is supposed to reflect the needs, understand the gap and address them appropriately through holistic approach.
Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal (TPO Nepal) is an organization which was a name I was familiar with, even before this membership as I had a strong interest in psychology and respective agencies working in the field. So, an opportunity of getting involved in this organization as a Youth Advisory Group member was a great fortune. Thanks to another member of the group who had introduced me to this opportunity, and I got the chance to contribute in the field in which I aspire to devote my career.
Talking about this group in brief, it is a group under Identifying Depression Early in Adolescence (IDEA) research project of TPO Nepal which comprises of young people aged 10-24 years. It includes but is not limited to young people who are depressed, recovered/non-depressed and have family/relatives/friends with depression. The group has been helping the organization by providing information on the existing issues faced by young people with possible solutions, directing to where the project is taking, interpreting the results, in sensitive and effective approaches to disseminate results to young people, their own families and the wider public and in the potential future implementation of those findings in educational, public and health contexts.
Firstly, getting selected for the membership was a beginning of a milestone which was followed by worthwhile experience. I met and interacted with new and interesting people in the group who had common ground and determination to work in the field of psychosocial wellbeing of people and community as a whole. All of us are still connected and in touch via ‘Viber, Skype and Gmail’. Through this membership, I was involved in multiple meetings regarding mental health agendas and purpose of Youth Advisory Group which enhanced my learning and knowledge. I could share and present my views and ideas regarding the agendas in the meeting. I also got an opportunity of attending TPO Nepal’s 14th anniversary programme; ‘Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPS) Dissemination and Sharing Programme’ on 7th June, 2019, a workshop on mental health on 30th June, 2019 and a programme ‘Promotion of Mental Health Through Sports’ on 18th October, 2019. These programmes and workshop were very interesting and educative.
I have been actively engaged in the group by performing assigned tasks. My poem ‘JOURNEY TOWARDS HAPPINESS’ had been posted in website of TPO Nepal which was also an activity as the member. I was very pleased to have my poem uploaded in the website. I was also involved in another task of the group i.e. in preparation work regarding conducting a mental health awareness programme in a school. For this, all of the members of the Youth Advisory Group planned and divided the preparation work. The initial preparation phase included development of a short PowerPoint presentation which was completed by us through team work. But this awareness programme got postponed due to COVID-19 crisis, which is due to be conducted after the crisis is over. Due to the crisis, we couldn’t have in-person meetings and thus have been having online meetings through Skype. This was a new and exciting experience to me as I was not habituated to using Skype in the first place. Thus, as per the meeting, we; the members were involved in another group task to write an overview: ‘COVID-19 from lens of adolescents’ which was based on prevalent COVID-19 crisis and its impact on mental wellbeing.
Additionally, in the recent online meeting, we have been assigned with another activity. Considering National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week; May 5th to 11th, 2020, the group has been planning to work on the parent’s concerns regarding their children’s mental wellbeing during this COVID-19 crisis. This is the ongoing activity in which we are still working.
Furthermore, talking about TPO Nepal, I feel the environment at TPO Nepal is very warm and welcoming where each staff of the organization is humble with 24/7 bright face, full dedication and devotion. This inspires me to do better than my prior capability. Thus, I would like to thank TPO Nepal and its family for such an influence in my life.