Resilience Project Workshop – Session 2 Recap by Kathy Tran and Kevin Nguyen
Project Vietnam Foundation held a informational workshop on the topic of bullying this past Saturday at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital. Many curious youths came to learn more about mental health awareness and how to reduce overwhelming emotions that a student may encounter in their day-to-day life during the second session of Project Resilience. With the help of Dr. Thanh Tam Nguyen and Dr. Quynh Kieu, there are ways to combat the negative aspects in life. Their bright personalities surely warmed up the atmosphere of the room!
The participants were shy at first however, introductions allowed them to become accustomed to the people around them. Students, from grades ranging from freshmans in high schools to incoming college students, each gave a reason as to why they were compelled to take part of Saturday’s workshop. To find peace within oneself and the individuals of their environment, some answered. Dr. Thanh Tam Nguyen gave a preface on bullying and its detrimental effects on an individual. She then began to dive into the functions of the components in the brain. It gave more insight as to how our body reacts to certain situations. During the climax of our rollercoaster of emotions, it is advised to control our breathing. The more we breathe using our stomach, the faster we can calm down our brain to avoid outbursts of anger and resentment. In focusing on our breathing to calm our body down, the calm and steady pace puts our parasympathetic nervous system into drive in which our heart rate slows down, pupils constrict, and digestion speeds up. The adrenaline from the fight or flight response from the sympathetic nervous system’s stressful event slowly drains away as we are once again able to regain control of who we are. Our emotions get calmer, our body systems start returning back to normal, slowly, we return back to who we were before the stressful event. It is a calming method that, recommended by both Dr. Thanh Tam Nguyen and Social Worker Mai Khanh Le, put us all in a more rested and serene mood.
After a few minutes of meditating, a video narrated by a victim of bullying drew everyone’s attention. The raw emotions poured out from his story seemed relatable to some students as they watched. Followed by a period of reflection, the students were separated into four random groups to make a skit that all included some type of verbal harassment. It was amazing to see everyone come up with a scenario in ten minutes and act everything out. Each group was significant in their own way. One group touched on cyber bullying which is one of the most common types of bullying in this day and age. With the frequent use of our phones and social media, individuals are more likely to be attacked online rather than in real life. The three other groups both focused on bullying within an educational setting. The underlying causes of bullying are peers and social conformity. In order to fit in a specific clique, students tend to pick on others as a way of saying they are more dominant. We may only focus on school-related bullying, however, anyone can become a victim of harassment.
This session consisted of a presentation by the students themselves. High school students Katelynn Tran from La Quinta High School and Kevin Nguyen from Pacifica High School gave a thorough explanation on the long term detrimental effects of bullying. Find out more about it here: https://brightfutures.projectvietnam.org/2018/07/24/where-has-treating-the-bullies-gone-wrong/
Although these students came from different schools, different families, and different aspects of life, they share the purpose of serving the community and finding ways to improve society. To end bullying, to end depression, these students attended this session as a way to aid in slowing down or stopping the rates of mental illness that can lead to suicide. And because they showed up, they are Not-I: the core focus group that advocates for the awareness of mental health within the communities around the OC area. Step by step, workshop by workshop, they will all get there. Bringing awareness of the mental health issues that plague society, Not-I will lead Orange County into learning how to reduce the rates of teenage suicide and deal with the mental health issues that many may face in the coming future.