In pursuit of combating Mental Health Stigma among youth in Pakistan, Muhammad Usman Shahid, a 2023 Aspire Leaders Program alum, brought an awareness campaign to local schools. This allowed for fostering open dialogue, reducing stigma, and equipping young students with the resources and skills needed to support their own mental well-being both inside and out of the classroom. When asked how the Aspire Leaders Program impacted his work, Shahid shared great insights.
“The Aspire Leaders Program, specifically the Stage 4 Faculty Seminars and immersive learning experiences facilitated by world-class faculty, played an important role in transforming my social impact idea into reality,” Shahid said.
The project addressed the need for awareness and understanding of mental health issues among young students. It was the first of its kind in the area and aimed to break down shame around discussing such topics, encourage positive attitudes toward seeking help, and create a supportive environment for students within their communities.
“Engaging with global peers during this program presented a unique and invaluable opportunity to glean insights from their diverse experiences and individual perspectives,” Shahid said. “These diverse and inclusive experiences were instrumental in project design and implementation strategies.”
This project was part of the Alumni Small grant for Global UGRAD-Pakistan, funded by the U.S. Department of the State and supported in its implementation by IREX.