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About the ACWB

The ACWB is a non-aligned center that offers counseling and psychological support for students, staff and faculty at Ashoka University. The ACWB was established to offer a safe space that offers free and confidential individual and group counseling support. Furthermore, ACWB resources are spent on promoting the value of good mental health to improve individual coping capacity through skill building. Director Arvinder J Singh founded the center in 2016, and now leads the center.

The year 2017-18 has seen an increased interest and presence in the center by encouraging students and initiating conversations on seeking help for mental health issues. The center pioneers student engagement by creating a space for students to look out for their peers, which allows them to take ownership of the narrative of wellbeing at Ashoka, This year, we saw over 50 volunteers sign up to be a part of the Dial-a-Peer helpline which offers emotional support through trained student volunteers. Additionally, the Friends of ACWB program encouraged students to create awareness and campaigning opportunities. The wellbeing lab within the center offers training programs, one of which was the hugely successful gatekeeper program created in consultation with the University of Pennsylvania CAPS. Through this program, over 40 RA’s and 90 cohort leaders were trained in identifying signs of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation within the community, and connecting those in need of help to the center.

Furthermore, the center organized mandatory sessions for wellbeing for the 400 + students in new batch during orientation, in addition to sessions with their parents. Over the next year, the center aims to continue its work by offering itself as a resource for external conferences (such as the IC3), as well as creating more opportunities for capacity building within the center.

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Reaching out during COVID-19

Reaching out during COVID-19
During these extraordinary circumstances, the centre rose to the challenge and continued to provide emotional support to Ashokans through the virtual medium. We swiftly moved to conducting our sessions on google hangouts and extending our telephone helpline services as well. A peer support group was formed and trained which ran a few interactions titled “We Care” on zoom. Diffusion of responsibility at the student-level led to ease in reaching out to those in need as well as covered greater ground and empowered students to be the change agents through small but significant gestures.

A sensitising and helpline training workshop was organised for the SANG Team. SANG is a student led initiative consisting of ex students from Ashoka as well as other universities and are involved with volunteering for the hunger helpline during Covid times.The central focus of the workshop was to provide the team members with first responders training as well as working with the vulnerable population.

Reaching out during COVID-19

Team ACWB

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