Ashoka Centre for Wellbeing (ACWB)

The Ashoka Centre for Wellbeing became all the more important as our world was taken over by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The centre creates emotionally safe space with a collaborative approach to uncover strengths to cope with life circumstances effectively. We also provide crisis intervention and extend helpline services.

In its role as a centre for excellence, ACWB has mentored students and faculty across universities in India to curate webinar series as well as set up walk-in centre for emotional problems.

This year, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Central University of Kashmir, wherein ACWB provides the expertise to set up a walk-in centre for students to talk about their emotional issues with a faculty member trained by us.

The Centre also serves as a resource to offer its expertise to various other institutions - Bar and Bench, Youth for Sustainability India and National Progressive School Council to name a few.

ACWB through its webinars, workshops and training serves as a resource to other departments of the University such as Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), Centre For Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP), Admissions Team, Chief Minister's Good Governance Associates Programme (CMGGA), Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) and Office of Outreach.

We also focus on Capacity Building through Gatekeeper Programme that aims at collaborating with student bodies with the aim to reach out to a larger population that goes beyond the Ashoka campus.

The initiatives focus on advocacy by drawing the attention on the preventive and promotive aspects of mental health and Wellbeing. These initiatives are very helpful in reducing the stigma around seeking help for mental health concerns as well as building awareness for early intervention.

ACWB did a Research Collaboration with Cambridge University which is a significant achievement for the centre for successfully securing a grant from Cambridge University for collaboration, conference and research titled ‘The Past, Present and Future of the Psych-Clinic: Global Perspectives’.

Advocacy and promoting positive mental health

ACWB uses an interdisciplinary approach to spread the message of positive mental health. The centre not only uses social media platforms but also collaborates with the student body to run on ground awareness campaigns about mental health and Wellbeing. Observing Wellbeing day, De-stress day, Gratitude day, Suicide Prevention day, International Yoga Day has been a tradition from the last five years. Conducting Wellbeing workshops are some of the spaces which attract huge student participation and open up conversations around breaking the stigma.

Transitioning during Pandemic

March of 2020, ACWB transitioned to the online medium owing to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Since then, the Centre has been reaching out and helping through the virtual medium and extending its additional support to the members of the Ashoka Community through offering counselling support on weekends as well as helpline services. The helpline remained open 7 days a week and for longer hours to reach out to more stakeholders. We helped many students and staff in these trying times and served close to1500 members of the Ashoka community through nearly 3400+sessions.

Dealing with Fear and Loneliness

During the second wave and with the increasing Covid scare, the centre rose to the challenge and continued to provide emotional support to Ashokans through conducting wellbeing and self- care workshops, by extending helpline services for longer hours, by sending personalized emails to nearly 800 students in campus. While we were serving the community we also made sure to take care of ourselves by meeting twice a week and having wellbeing activities within our team. We took mental health breaks when required.

Reaching out to build resilience

Dr Singh from ACWB and Prof Dwight Jaggard from the Department of Positive Psychology, University of Pennsylvania collaborated to hold webinars for students across both campuses to build collective resilience. ACWB continues to extend its services operating with a mindset of promoting well-being across campus.


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