Sharing real personal life experiences, can sometimes serve as a form of therapy and a potentially effective way of reaching out to young souls who are mostly vulnerable and predisposed to social ills such as drug and alcohol and by no means less, teenage delinquency.
It is also on its own a form of motivation that can help one to rise against all odds and avoid pitfalls that can lead to emotional or physical stress besides other societal stressors or misfortunes.
Therefore, in celebrating Counselling Day at the Student Centre on October 4, 2019, the Careers and Counselling Unit chose the theme “Happiness is a journey, not a destination” and brought along speakers who have seen it all. Individuals who could vouch that they had been to hell and back hence the importance of counselling.
“This is an event…where counsellors are telling the students, staff members, stakeholders and everybody that they are here to serve us and that they are accessible,” reckoned the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Professor Happy Siphambe, acknowledging the critical role counseling plays in stimulating happiness.
Professor Siphambe noted Botswana’s plummeting happiness levels due to a number of challenges such as drought, unemployment and graduates roaming the streets, among others.
“World Happiness Index for 2019 ranks us 148 and over the years we are sliding up the rank showing worsening happiness situation,” said professor Siphambe. Incidentally, he said that was despite having more resources and better facilities than most countries that performed better than Botswana.
“What this tells us is that happiness is not necessarily a function of resources but a state of mindset,” he observed and adding "we just need to know what to do when we feel down". As such he called on the students, staff and members of the public to utilise counselling services since no one was immune to problems that could lead to emotional stress.
He commended the Careers and Counseling Unit and its stakeholders for ensuring that there was a collective effort for team work and putting in place a referral system for clients in need of counselling services and care.
Professor Siphambe said gone were days when counseling was stigmitised hence it was against this background that the careers and Counseling Unit brought along individuals who gave testimonies on the importance of counseling and the benefits thereof.
Youth of Safe Haven founder, Mr Boyson Mokone, cautioned the students against teenage delinquency, saying because of such, he became a victim of drug and alcohol abuse to the extent that he ended up serving a prison sentence for an alleged crime.
Mr Mokone said it took him 20 years to turn his life around and learn from his past mistakes some of which he committed because of youthful exuberance.
Meanwhile, the event which was preceded by a march by students, staff and other stakeholders around campus, was also characterised by music and dance as well as stall exhibition by organisation that offer counseling services such as Princes Marina Referral Hospital, Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP), Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNet) and USAID.