The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Health & Wellness Talks: A steady (live)stream of support for the UM Community

Thursday, 9 April 2020, 09:06 Last update: about 3 months ago

As the UM Community gets used to an alternative mode of class delivery through the rest of the academic year in response to the continued threat of COVID-19, the UM's Health and Wellness Centre has introduced a steady stream of support for all.

The Health & Wellness Talks, which come in the form of weekly Facebook sessions streamed live, consist of animated discussions with a number of experts on how to better deal with the fears and anxieties brought about by this new normal. 

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Presided over by UM Pro-Rector for Student & Staff Affairs and Outreach, Prof. Carmen Sammut, the sessions, held in Maltese, are also co-hosted by Dr Joan Camilleri, Head of Counselling Services at the University.

Guests for the first four sessions held so far included:

• Dr Christian Borg Xuereb, Senior Lecturer at the UM's Department of Gerontology - who spoke about the need to not let the victim narrative skew the reality of COVID-19 as we communicate about it with the elderly, and amongst ourselves as this can have an unfavourable psychological outcome;

• Mr William Farrugia, KSU (Kunsill Studenti Universitarji) President - who voiced student concerns such as how exams and assessment will be tackled if remote learning persists, and reassured that details on these will be communicated with students as they become known;

• Dr Tanya Melillo, Head of Malta's Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit - who, upon clearing myths and misconceptions on COVID-19 measures such as the wearing of masks, reiterated on the importance of adhering to social distancing measures, no matter how hard it can be, as this minimises the spread of the virus, to avoid more serious problems later on;

• Ms Luanne Grima, Betapsi President - who gave an interesting interpretation of the possible COVID-19-related stressors, from the students' perspective, and elaborated on the need for off-campus support as a way to deter the compounding of anxiety due to social isolation.

"The H&W Talks are a way of helping the UM community put things into perspective while navigating through this unprecedented reality alone in the sense we are in isolation, but together in experiencing this situation. These talks are intended to be a reliable source of information to students who are studying from their homes, and to lecturers, who have had to adapt to a new way of teaching," said Prof. Sammut about the rationale behind the H&W Talks.

The Health and Wellness Centre offers this and other services aimed at enhancing the wellness of the UM community.

The previous H&W Talks can be found below, or through the Centre's Facebook Page.

H&W Talks is a collaborative production between the Marketing, Communications & Alumni Office and the Health & Wellness Centre.


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