Colombo I Golden Z Club reaches women and girls with three-pronged mental health campaign

To make a lasting impact in the world and truly change the lives of women and girls for generations to come, we must invest in youth development and shape young leaders for gender equality. Through Zonta International’s Z and Golden Z Club program, students around the world are carrying out Zonta’s mission to empower women and girls through service and advocacy.

The Colombo I Golden Z Club, sponsored by the Zonta Club of Colombo I in Sri Lanka, won the first-place 2020 Emma L. Conlon Service Award for their outstanding service project, A Sound Mind.

The project, which aimed to improve the mental health of Sri Lankan women and children, contained three components: “Breaking Barriers,” “Pursuit of Happiness” and “You Will Heal.”

Breaking Barriers provided vocational guidance to adolescent street children with the collaboration of professional career counselors. The children were also exposed to an inspirational speech and artwork that aimed at improving their mental health.

Pursuit of Happiness gave 500 schoolgirls lessons on preventing bullying, improving personal relationships, and techniques for gaining happiness in interactive sessions.

You Will Heal targeted adult’s mental well-being following a 2019 terrorist attack in which 267 people were killed and at least 500 were injured in a series of bombings throughout Colombo and surrounding suburbs. Social media posts directed people to professional psychological services and shared information on travel anxiety, eliminating discrimination and strategies for mental well-being. The posts reached an audience of approximately 20,000.

Stigma, which is a barrier to people with mental illness seeking treatment, is often associated with mental health not only in Sri Lanka but globally. Programs that promote mental health awareness, such as A Sound Mind, have proven effective in reducing stigma.

24 September 2020