You Don’t Need a Degree to Help

One step at a time. Start small. Changes begin with you.

There is a kind of old friend who you rarely talk to, but when you reach out, he or she is sure to respond. You two would decide to grab a coffee and catch up. Listening to each other’s updates, you may realize the friend is still the same despite the passage of time.

After strolling in the neighbourhood for 15 minutes, we decided on a tea shop…

Me: I thought you should know this. I believe my deep interest in mental health has to do with you. *eyes on the rising steam from the teapot*

She: Haha, really? You have no idea how glad I am to hear that! *squeaked*

Me: Yeah… *embarrassed* I don’t know if you recall that time in the dormitory when you showed me your cut… *trailed off*

She: Yes! How could I forget that! *smile grew bigger*

Me: And, umm, I’m really sorry that I wasn’t a better friend to you at the time. Perhaps… that past incident inspired me to help others now.

She: Wow, and what do you plan to do?

Photo by Sergey Norkov on Unsplash


That was almost two years ago.

The thoughts on obtaining a degree in psychotherapy or counselling come in and out of my head.

It is always the cost that made me take a step back.

Instead, I’ve attended as many mental health and suicide workshops as I could find.


Anyone who has had tonsillitis understands the excruciating pain in the throat. Nothing helps. Even swallowing your own saliva feels like engulfing a sharp glass.

After two days of not being able to eat, I texted my family doctor – my cousin. An immediate reply “FaceTime Now” prompted the conversation…

She: You look so pale, and did you lose weight? What’s happening?

Me: No… I’ve been… well there’s trouble with my relationship and also, what do you think about me switching fields?

She: Wait, wait, slow down. What do you mean? Be specific. I’m here to help.

Me: Well, I was put in touch with a professor in Taiwan through the suicide intervention workshops I attended in Toronto. Together, we are brainstorming on how to bring the workshop to Taiwan.

She: I think that’s a great idea! So what’s your concern?

Me: But I have no certifications in the field…

She: Have you heard of the guy in Japan who opened a cafe next to the mountain cliff? He did that so he could offer coffee to those considering jumping. There are so many ways to help. You don’t need years of knowledge on cohort studies or comparative analysis to start.

Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash


I think I just found the origin of this blog… through writing.

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