On 1 October, Commonwealth Alumni in Islamabad, Pakistan gathered for a networking reception centred around the interconnectedness of well-being, mental health and climate change. The event aimed to inspire Commonwealth Alumni and communities they represent to harness the power of networking to promote both mental well-being and environmental sustainability in a rapidly changing world. 

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, the importance of mental health and well-being cannot be overstated. As we grapple with the challenges brought on by a rapidly changing society, it is imperative that we prioritise our mental and emotional well-being. Simultaneously, in an era marked by unprecedented environmental challenges, the intersection of mental health and climate change has become an urgent concern. As we navigate the complex landscape of climate-related stressors, it is essential to explore the profound impact of environmental change on our mental well-being. 

The event brought together a diverse audience, including Commonwealth Alumni and current scholars, representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, as well as international organisations such as the UN, UNICEF, and WHO. 

The event opened with a welcome message from Usman Khalid, Senior Manager – Higher Education Mobility, British Council Pakistan. Following his opening, Usman invited Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni to introduce themselves and share their academic and professional backgrounds, and personal experiences and contributions in the fields of mental health and environmental sustainability. The introductions highlighted the importance of involving a wide range of stakeholders in the conversation about mental health and climate change.  

Commonwealth Alumnus Khadija Amir (2014 Commonwealth Shared Scholar) delivered the guest lecture. In her speech, she explored the interconnectedness of these vital aspects of our lives, while delving into the urgent issue of climate change. Her presentation, along with interaction with the audience, offered valuable insights into how mental health and well-being are not isolated concerns but are intricately linked to the challenges posed by climate change. She discussed the psychological impact of environmental changes, emphasising the need for a holistic approach to address these issues.   

Khadija’s lecture not only raised awareness but also inspired the audience to consider innovative solutions that could help mitigate the effects of climate change on mental health and foster greater well-being.  

The event concluded with a group photograph and networking, with a key focus on forging connections that can contribute to promoting mental health and environmental consciousness.