Counselling Corner newsletter – June 2023
LGBTQ+ community and mental health
June is celebrated as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month worldwide to honour the 1969 Stonewall riots and to commemorate the many contributions made by the LGBTQIA+ community to history, society and cultures worldwide. Since then, Pride Month has spread and is celebrated throughout the month of June each year in many countries around the world including Myanmar.
During the whole month of June, Counselling Corner Live! Facebook talk is especially for the LGBTQIA+ community but also family, friends and colleagues. We talk about the obstacles, mental health support, the difference between sex (the physical appearance) and gender (how somebody feels). By knowing and understanding more about this, it’s easier to understand yourself, understand others and create more acceptance of differences in gender. Differences in society are part of life and understanding these differences, enables people to establish a harmonious future.
Counselling Corner recently did research on depression in Myanmar and we saw that people identifying themselves as “other gender” score higher in levels of depression using the PHQ-9 method.
During the month of June, the topic of social media and mental health is discussed in our workshops and webinars. In case you have missed it look at our YouTube channel:
The whole month of June there will be activities for Pride month at the French Institute and the American Center that include activities focussed on mental health for the LGBTQ+ community in Myanmar. A big closing event is planned for 1 July including, follow the French Institute Social media for updates and meet the Counselling Corner Team there!
Consultation versus counselling session – “I’m not crazy”
We often hear in society “I am not crazy” and the obviously the word is “crazy” is a very stigmatised word. Just think about it, how often do you use the word “crazy” to refer to somebody who thinks or acts different from your norm. At our centre, we often hear people asking themselves “am I normal?” or “Is something wrong with me”? There is no right or wrong answer. If you can function happily in your community, at your own pace, in your family, without harming anybody then that is perfectly fine.
Counselling Corner started offering “consultation sessions” for people to ask these kinds of questions for themselves or for others in their family. Questions on how to support yourself to stay mentally strong, what possible therapies exists in case you want to work on improving your mental well-being and how you can support others.
No question is strange to our counsellors and it is a safe place to ask anything you want about mental health. Without judgment, without further need to commit to anything. The session can be done online or face to face.
Consultation sessions are available any day of the week at our normal rates (or with sliding scale rates if you cannot afford the normal rates). Occasionally we offer free consultation days, the next one is on Monday 26 June. Make an appointment in advance.
Counselling Corner talk with Mon Halsey
The Myanmar author Mon Halsey is no stranger to many Myanmar bookworms as her books are widely regarded as very well written and her fan base on social media is over half a million followers. She contacted Counselling Corner a few years ago to learn more about mental health as a preparation on her books about mental health and finished our Advanced Counselling Skills training.
She wrote books with the title “Mental detox” and Balance Wheel of Life. Counselling Corner founder Aung Min Thein recently had a talk with her about her latest book “the sad story on the hill”, mental health in Myanmar and her own experiences. Did you miss the talk? Have a look back here:
Buy her book at Counselling Corner bookshop at our counselling centre (also for other books in English and in Myanmar on mental health) or check our selection online.
Emotional workshop for companies
We are extremely pleased to see more companies start to taking care of the mental well-being of their staff, a good example is Rice Communications (see their newsletter here). It is of course about time, as after years of Covid and Coup d’état issues, it is very normal for people to have many extreme emotions. The part of the brain that controls “emotions” is called the limbic system. When the limbic system is overactive or hypersensitive, it can cause an inappropriate activation of the immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems. This can lead to chronic flight or fight/sympathetic overdrive, which is a major factor in chronic disease. In this state, the body cannot heal and anxieties tend to worsen and the “link” to the logical thinking part of the brains is closed off.
One of the best ways to deal with an overactive limbic system is to talk and share emotions with others. That is exactly what Counselling Corner aims for with our emotional workshops.
In a small group of 20 people you learn to talk about emotions, listen to others and realise you are not alone having these feelings or realise that other might need your support. The emotional workshop can be done online or face to face, it takes about 2 hours, is done in Myanmar language and is an excellent start to supporting your Myanmar staff mentally.
Many HR managers often tell us “Our Myanmar staff is not used to talk about feelings” or “We don’t want to force people to disclose their emotions amongst colleagues.” Do not worry! Nobody is “forced” to do anything; just listening can be very helpful as well and we see that always there are people who want to share their thoughts and feelings and it brings a big relief for everybody.
Many other International and Myanmar companies have invested in the mental well-being of their staff. Contact us for details and rates of the emotional workshop for staff: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do share / like and contact us if you have any questions or suggestions on the above or want to know more about our services. We want to make it easier for people to talk about mental well-being and we need help from all organizations in Myanmar to discuss mental well-being openly with your team and work on improving it.
For inquiries, please contact us:
Phone: 09 785 074 173, 09 784 509 916