THE RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC), formerly known as Penang Medical College, is collaborating with the Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC), D’Home Mental Health Association and Pertubuhan Wanita Mutiara Pulau Pinang (PWMPP) to organise various mental health related programmes for youth throughout next month.
The programme, titled “Mental Health Month 2021 – ‘Eunoia’- Well Mind”, will be held in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day which will be observed on Oct 10.
PWMPP president Madam Tan Lean Kee, who is also the wife of Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, hoped the programme would greatly benefit the youth in Penang and impart them on the importance of mental wellbeing.
Tan said the programme will be instrumental in equipping the youth with tools needed for their well-being.
“I believe this programme will encourage the young people to strive to attain a ‘well mind’ which is in line with the theme of the programme itself.
“And I hope they will learn to reach out for help and support when it is necessary as well as emerge as a more resilient and mentally healthy youth.
“Every week various activities have been planned tailoring to the needs of students and youth. Thus, I call upon all youth in Penang to participate in this programme.
“Take this opportunity to build up your mental health resilience as there is no health without mental wellbeing,’’ Tan said during the virtual launch of the programme today.
Apart from that, Tan also said the prolonged pandemic situation has taken a toll on many individuals ranging from youth to the elderly and particularly the healthcare frontliners as well as families from the low and middle-income groups.
“Awareness and acceptance of individuals suffering from mental health issues is still not widely accepted here in Malaysia and other Asian countries.
“Even getting access to the mental health services remains a challenge and unequal especially for the low and middle-income communities.
“Besides urging the governments to invest more in mental health services, educating and equipping the population while they are even as young as in primary school would be a more proactive measure to mitigate the negative effects of mental health disorders.
“If we do not rectify the mental health issues among our community then in the long run it will affect the country’s economic and social development,’’ she said.
State Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said the “Mental Health Month 2021 – ‘Eunoia’- Well Mind” is similar to the ‘Penang Youth Resilience Superstars’ programme initiated by the state government to tackle issues concerning mental health.
“The state government has taken the lead to kick start the ‘Penang Youth Resilience Superstars’ programme by partnering with the PWMPP recently.
“The ‘Penang Youth Resilience Superstars’ is a resilience-building programme that develops self-esteem and self-awareness, pro-social behaviours and skill sets.
“And now we are launching the ‘Mental Health Month’ programme to complement our efforts in creating awareness of the importance of mental being.
“With the collaboration and support from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), partners, and organisations, I believe the Penang youth will develop a stronger mental and emotional wellness,’’ Soon added.
Meanwhile, PYDC general manager Dr Gwee Sai Ling said the programme is inclusive, therefore will help to break the taboo that people have on mental health issues.
“People are often afraid to open and speak up about mental health because they are afraid that they might be judged by others.
“However, through the weekly topics such as “Nourish to flourish”- Self-care and mindfulness, “Man in the Mirror”- Being the change, “You are not alone” and a few more including two competitions, the programme is able to change the whole perspective of mental health.
“It will encourage youth to voice out their thoughts and reach out to one another,’’ said Gwee.
RUMC student association president Sheena Siva Subramaniam said the one-month long programme which caters to youth between 15 years and 35 years old would be held virtually.
“There will be also video and writing competitions, Zoom webinars, workshops, talks, sharing sessions hosted by students as well as social media contents that will be shared every Mondays to Thursdays throughout the campaign.
“For further details you can reach us at [email protected] and follow us on Instagram at @rumcsa,’’ said Sheena.
D’Home Mental Health Association president Datuk Seri Leslie Lee, who was also present, said the association has been closely working with the RUMC for the past eight years.
“We are happy to collaborate again with the RUMC on their projects for the eighth time. Indeed, this would be a rewarding partnership for the medical students, D’Home and our community at large.
“We have also worked with the RUMC on research concerning psychiatry whereby the data collected from the studies has helped to enhance the mental healthcare system which includes the clients and the caregivers,’’ said Lee.
Story by Tanushalini Moroter
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad