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FASTCOnversation: adjusting mentally and emotionally to student life with Patrick Gamo

Today's FASTCOnversation is a big one!

We are catching up with Patrick Gamo on emotional struggles Filipino international students in Victoria experience. Patrick completed his Master's in Counseling at Monash University in 2017 as an Australia Awards scholar.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines 'mental health' as the "... state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community".

It is critical to remember that mental health is a continuum that ranges from having good mental health to suffering a mental illness. An person's mental health shifts along this continuum throughout his or her life, meaning he or she can have very good days as well as genuinely bad days or periods. Mental illness/disorder is when a person has a diagnosable illness affecting his or her thinking, emotional state, and behaviour that disrupts his or her ability to live a normal life.

People who seek professional help are not only those with diagnosed mental illnesses. Sometimes, we also need some help in taking care of our mental health and to manage stresses and anxiety in dealing with our studies, homesickness, or culture shock.

As the popular slogan goes, "It's okay to not be okay". Mental and emotional struggles are not signs of weakness. You do not have to suffer alone. There are available FREE resources for us student and below are just a few of them:

Beyond Blue (advice and support for anxiety and depression)

Moodgym (an online self-help program aimed at helping users prevent and manage their symptoms of depression and anxiety)

Headspace (online and phone service support for young people experiencing mental health issues)

Smiling Mind (web and app-based meditation and mindfulness program developed by psychologists and educators)

Mindspot (online and phone support service for people suffering from anxiety and depression)

OSHC and seeking help from a psychologist

Lifeline crisis center (for suicide prevention)

Lastly, we all have different ways of coping. What works for your friend may not necessarily work for you and vice versa. However, unless we explore our options, we may not find out what fits our situation and needs.

Pat is now back in the Philippines with his own private practice and advocates mental health through psychoeducation. Learn more about his advocacy, PsychOfPat, via the following links: instagram: @psych.of.pat twitter: psychofpat

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