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Dubai: The National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing has launched student support groups across the UAE in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and as part of the ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative, which targets students in cycles 2 and 3.

The groups seek to empower students to support one another, share their stories and experiences, and talk about the challenges they face and how to address them. In addition to supporting the students, the groups allow them to develop their communication skills, positive practices, and a sense of teamwork.

The sessions will be administered by an academic counsellor and an assistant academic counsellor, with experts in psychology lending support. The programme provides coordinators with the necessary training to hone their expertise in directing discussions, which tackle subjects of interest to the students, from mental health and eliminating everyday stress to acquiring social skills and values to improve self-awareness.

Uhoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, and Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said the students’ feeling of support in their environment is key to develop their creativity and skills.

“With that in mind, we are working to develop an academic model that provides a well-rounded experience for students, empowers them to help one another in facing challenges, and helps them acquire useful skills,” she said.

Jameela Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, said: “The ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative complements the National Agenda for Wellbeing and its objectives. The fact that the initiative answers the aspirations and challenges facing school students and their life experiences is what will ensure its longevity and success. It breaks the routine and eliminates barriers between the students on the one hand, and between the students and faculty members on the other.”

Al Roumi and Al Muhairi attended the launch of the initiative along with a group of students from the Shaikha Bint Saeed School for Girls and the Humaid Bin Abdul Aziz Secondary School for Boys in Ajman, where sessions were held on stress and peer pressure.