While our proud nation has been on a steady journey of progress and improvement, some aspects of our national well-being are undeniably lacking.
A woman on a mission to uplift one of these key concern areas, the mental and emotional wellbeing of our people, is presently making big plans and seeking local support.
Degree-qualified clinical nutritionist, writer, speaker, life coach, counsellor and narrative therapist Princess R Lakshman is in the initial phase of setting up mind wellness hubs across Fiji.
“Not many people know what narrative therapy is; it’s to allow a safe space for people to come and share their stories either in the form of a group or in the form of personal journaling. And you’re pretty much therapeutically releasing- what they call catharsis; you’re releasing your emotions on the page, releasing yourself through poetry slams, through journaling, or even just speaking your stories out. So that’s narrative therapy, it’s having a space for safe storytelling,” Ms Lakshman said.
These wellness hubs, tentatively called Viti Mind Wellness hubs, will provide a space not only for Fijians to speak their minds and release their worries, but to also seek guidance for personal growth and trauma healing.
These services will be spread across the nation from metropolitan areas to the grassroots and will be available to all Fijians free of charge either virtually or via physical tents and hubs.
Lakshman seeks “to provide that space where people can come and just feel good, to release themselves by talking to someone who cares to listen, and to treat them with no judgement and fully embrace the human that they are.
Which means embracing their flaws and treating them with respect for the scars that the flaws have left them with instead of shaming them or blaming them, or making them feel like they need to regret about [their flaws] or making them feel like they need to feel at fault or blame somebody else for it.
Because these four things people revolve around them; the shame, guilt, fault and blame, and it really takes the focus away from growth”.
“So my hope is to bring them awareness and create hubs of safety for people of Fiji to access free of charge, where they can come and understand with awareness ‘why am I flawed in these ways, why am I behaving in these ways, how can I better myself, what strategies can you give me as a professional to help me better myself’. That’s my goal,” she added.
Establishing such a wide-reaching and HRintensive service for her country of origin is, however, a huge undertaking and she holds hope that there might be support from other likeminded individuals and organisations with a desire to better their country and uplift their people.
She hopes to be contacted by anyone who could offer any form of support in setting up the tents and hubs in as many local communities as viable, and the support of government agencies and any organisations and corporations that have the desire to give back to Fiji’s people and hold up their social responsibility.
Individuals with any skillset they think may be of use are also welcome to reach out.
“My first goal is to get mental health professionals here in Fiji on board with me, even if they can dedicate one hour a week, just something, give me a little time from your life to be of service to your own people.”
If all goes to plan the mind wellness hubs could be operational by the end of the year and the virtual services through phone and video calls via the website could launch within three months.
Ms Lakshman hopes that with the necessary support these mind wellness hubs and mental well-being in general will spread across all of Fiji as “one Fijian healed is a nation healed”.