Posted on: April 13, 2020 Posted by: Maira Asaad Comments: 0

by Menahel Khan

LUMS has a number of Facebook groups catering to various needs of the LUMS community. Groups like LDF (LUMS Discussion Forum), Girl Power at LUMS, and the individual society groups to name some. However, a particularly interesting Facebook group is Help @LUMS. Created on the 10th of September 2018, it hosts more than 3000 members. Help @LUMS is a group solely aiming to provide the LUMS community a safe platform to get mental health support. What more is that it was created by a then sophomore and hence, a relatively young student, Saman Iqbal, who still continues to administer the page.

Q. A brief introduction about yourself.

I’m currently a junior year law student. You’ll mostly find me at the Super Store, hunting for Cocomo, or between fiction shelves in the library.

Q. How did you come up with this idea of Help at LUMS?

I struggled a lot during my first year at LUMS, and most people generally do, too. I wanted to create a family that could rely on each other and open up to each other without the fear of judgement.

Q. Do you run it alone?

Yes.

Q. Did you face any problems in creating it or have there been any obstacles ever since?

No, there haven’t been any obstacles as such but I find it sad when people aren’t kind to each other. Mental health remains a taboo in our society, which makes it harder to open up about these struggles. I wouldn’t want anyone opening up on the group to regret it later or feel bullied in any way because then they entirely shy away from the idea of opening up or seeking help. So, if you see your friends opening up about something personal, please refrain from joking or making mean comments about it. We are supposed to uplift our friends, not bring them down.

Q. Being the admin of this page, have you ever found it difficult to carry on with it or has it ever come in the way of your own mental wellbeing?

No, I look forward to it every day. Seeing people help each other, showing kindness to complete strangers on a Facebook group, reading their wholesome comments warms my heart.

Q. How do you plan on leaving this legacy behind once you graduate or will you continue to look after it?

Umm, I kinda sorta have no idea. Please give suggestions?

Q. What is your message for all the people who are on the forum or have benefited from the forum?

Please be kind. Don’t be hard on others, and especially yourself. Open up, break the silence, seek help. I promise, you’ll feel a lot better. You’ll be alright. Every little thing will be fine, and even if it is not,we’ll make it alright bit by bit.

Q. Why do you think this platform was necessary when groups like LDF already existed?

Help @LUMS was made for people like me, people who felt alone and hesitated in speaking up about their struggles. LDF is more about academic queries, Help @LUMS is a family.

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 globally, Iqbal confirmed that it has affected the group community as well where an increasing number of quarantined group members are seeking mental health and comfort. But she was glad to reveal that the community is “trying its best to not let the current situation get to it”. 

Groups like Help@LUMS are a relief to the campus community and let’s pray that they continue to benefit the student body for long.

Maira Asaad

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