The following is a guest post from Eric Tuyisenge, a Social Worker and member of our Health & Wellness Center Staff. Eric writes about one of the current initiatives that the Health & Wellness Center has launched in an effort to actively identify and address key areas that are helpful to our Agahozo-Shalom students. We appreciate his contribution and this inside look into the Agahozo-Shalom Health & Wellness Center. 


The students are finishing up the last days of the 2013 academic year, Senior Six (12th grade) students are preparing for the National Exam, while at the same time, thinking about how to start their life after Agahozo-Shalom. The ASYV Health and Wellness Center (HWC) has planned to provide the Senior Six students with Stress Management Skills. 

Stress is a natural part of life as we face different kinds of stressors.  These include things such as work pressure, studying, exams, lifestyle, relationships, finance, etc. Stress is the mind and body’s response or reaction to a stressor.  Stress impacts everyone differently.  Stress can be a source of boredom, motivation as well as burnout. Once stress impacts our health and mind in a negative way, the impact compounds and we find ourselves in a vicious cycle. With awareness however, and appropriate stress management techniques, everyone can learn to manage stress more effectively.

Recently, the Health & Wellness Center noticed many behavioral changes and different symptoms among the Senior Six level students; some of them decreased their sleeping hours, eating time and social interactions to maximize the remaining days they have to focus on the preparation for their National Exam. As a result, many of them who previously had not been consulting the Health & Wellness Center with any complaints, were now visiting the center, complaining of headaches, fatigue, stomachaches and other medically unexplained pains. Apart from these noticeable changes and symptoms, stress can negatively impact students' performance on the National Exam if nothing is done to help them find ways of coping.  

It is in this framework that the HWC has prepared a Stress Management training for all Senior Six students that was held today, October 1, 2013. The objectives of the training were to help all of the students understand the mind-body phenomenon of stress, and to provide them with techniques that can be helpful in dealing with stress. We hope that these skills will reduce medical complaints, contribute to improved concentration while studying, and enhance students' performance on the National Exam. In addition, it is our hope that these techniques will support our students in coping with the pressures of starting a new life after Agahozo-Shalom, and that in the long-term, they will all be healthier.