ISLAMABAD-The very first SOT TALKS, part of the SOT Events held annually, was very well-received at Pakistan National Council of Arts, Islamabad. The SOT TALKS raised the important issue of mental health and how essential it is to highlight emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

There were 2 in-depth panel discussions on topics pertaining to mental health led by panels of experts relating to the field. The first session ‘Pressure for Perfection: Social Media and Self-Image’ had Khalid Malik as moderator and Dr Asha Bedar, clinical psychologist, Zainab Chughtai, lawyer and Shehzad Ghias Shaikh, trainer and writer as panelists.

During the session, Khalid Malik remarked that social media could end up being linked to negativity and narcissism and a decrease in self-esteem. Shehzad Gias added that going against the social media was fighting a losing battle, adding that you cannot invalidate what kids are going through nowadays.

He felt that going back to real life helps where friends and family are a constant.

Asha Bedar stated that technology was here to stay and that we have to learn to engage with it responsibly.

The second session ‘Pathways to happiness: Coping with stress and anxiety’ again featured Khalid Malik, RJ, as moderator and had Daanika Kamal, CEO, The Color Blind, Dr Mowaddat Rana, psychiatrist, Noorulain Masood, Founder and CEO and Atif Saeed, Founder of Drum Clinic on the panel.

Regarding the topic, Dr Mowaddat Rana said that we expect a lot from students but we do not provide them with the right skills to protect themselves mentally.

Daanika Kamal emphasized that we need to be careful when we use terms related to depression in our daily language and not trivialize the terminology and what people go through.

Noorulain Masoor said that all humans want to connect with emotions and that these emotions were innate. Atif Saeed said that if we are not aware of what drives us, we all will become puppets to our past.

SOT Talks are conceptualized as essence of School of Tomorrow (SOT) Events by providing a platform to keep inspirational conversations alive.

They serve as a bridge between each of our annual SOT events – driven by previous and building up to the next – in order to continue the mission to provide enriching, future-oriented intellectual experiences and learning opportunities. With a focus on emerging issues within contemporary societies, these discussions aim to contribute to a better future.