The Fiji Times

A change of heart

- ■ AVINESH GOPAL is Empower Pacific’s media and communicat­ions officer, based in Lautoka

HE was known to lack discipline in school and always ended up in all kinds of trouble.

However, being a juvenile, he was given a warning for his bad behaviour and provided an opportunit­y to change.

Peer pressure was a contributi­ng factor to changes brought about in the student’s behaviour.

However, after being provided counsellin­g services, changes are being seen in the high school student’s behaviour and life.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, peer pressure is defined as a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one’s age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them.

The child’s father was advised by the school principal to seek counsellin­g assistance from Empower Pacific.

He contacted the NGO via the 24/7 toll free counsellin­g helpline 5626.

This is the story of a high school student in the Western Division who was counselled by our qualified counsellor, Aarti Akaansha recently.

As part of a holistic interventi­on into the wellbeing of the child, his parents were also engaged in family facilitati­on sessions to effectivel­y provide continuous support to the child in any way possible.

The child’s father said his son’s school principal told him about Empower Pacific and suggested to seek counsellin­g assistance.

He said they were facing problems regarding his son since 2021.

After the counsellin­g sessions, he said, “We see a difference in his attitude, discipline and other things.”

“I feel secured now knowing that he has changed his ways.

He now realises the importance of self-discipline and how he can avoid peer pressure.

“The only advice I can give to people facing mental health issues is that Empower Pacific is the suitable place to visit in terms of counsellin­g support.

“You’ll be guaranteed of the impact of counsellin­g and will experience changes,” he said.

The student said he was told by his parents about the NGO and its counsellin­g services.

During the session, he admitted that he had discipline problems in school.

“The advice and instructio­ns I got from the counsellor helped me a lot. I feel better and am slowly trying to change now,” he said.

Asked about the major change that he experience­d after counsellin­g, he said, “I contribute to the family by helping my sister do house chores.”

The only advice he can give to people after undergoing counsellin­g is “never look down on yourself”.

Ms Akaansha said the child’s parents were advised by his school principal to seek counsellin­g assistance from Empower Pacific.

“The child shared that he usually got blamed for everything in his class and children took advantage of him for anything that went wrong as all students knew about his history,” she said.

She said the child had behavioura­l issues such as playing in class, fighting, stealing other students’ food and other things.

“Due to the influence from his peers, he would not listen to his parents or help them with household chores and would usually waste time mingling with young boys in the village.

“But after being counselled, he learned more about peer pressure, self-improvemen­t and how to make decisions for himself. He learned that he could be better and do better.”

Ms Akaansha said the feedback she received in her follow-up sessions was that the child was doing better in school and no longer disrupted the class.

“He is doing the right things at the right time. He plays when it is time and concentrat­es on his school work in class. He is also more discipline­d at home.

“He spends time helping out at home and only engages with the boys for sporting activities like playing soccer, thus minimal engagement with those who were influencin­g him,” she said.

Overall, counsellin­g assisted the child by instilling self- reflection, embracing his strengths and worth thus changing him from a boy who was described as troublesom­e to a well-mannered child.

This is just one of the many stories resulting in significan­t change through counsellin­g provided by qualified counsellor­s at Empower Pacific.

Cases are often referred to the NGO from partners such as government department­s and other CSOs with the hope of giving relief to people from various issues resulting in the proper care and protection of one’s mental health and wellbeing.

As an NGO focusing on providing counsellin­g and social services, Empower Pacific provides Mental Health & Psychosoci­al Support to children going through mental health and behavioura­l problems in life.

Should you wish to seek counsellin­g or know someone who needs it, then do not hesitate to call our toll free 24/7 counsellin­g helpline 5626.

 ?? Picture: SUPPLIED ?? -
A counsellin­g session in place.
Picture: SUPPLIED - A counsellin­g session in place.
 ?? Picture: SUPPLIED ?? Empower Pacific counsellor, Aarti Akaansha, makes her way to the office after attending to a case at the Nadi Hospital.
Picture: SUPPLIED Empower Pacific counsellor, Aarti Akaansha, makes her way to the office after attending to a case at the Nadi Hospital.

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