MENTAL health, which is deemed as the most crucial aspect in determining an individual’s overall well-being, was once being overlooked but it has now gained serious attention globally.
With more awareness being created by various bodies, it has become a widely spoken issue where initiatives are being undertaken with regards to safeguarding the mental health.
As such, in order to bring the message on the essentiality of taking care of one’s mental health, Kiwanis Club of Penang Central joined hands with the Delta Clinic, Australia to organise the 4th Mental Child and Adolescent Health Symposium at the Tech Dome Penang ( venue sponsor).
The main topic of the symposium will be on school refusal (‘School Refusal: A Serious and Stubborn Problem’) which is a major concern among schools and this series of talks will be attended by mental health professionals, teachers and counsellors.
The speakers include the founder director of the Delta Clinic (Australia) David Hong, child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Kam Wong, child psychiatrist and behavioural therapist Datuk Dr Lai Fong Hwa and senior teacher (Pelita International School) Indranee Liew.
Kiwanis has sponsored a total of 30 teachers and counsellors to attend the symposium.
Deputy Chief Minister II Prof P. Ramasamy, who graced the opening ceremony of the event, stated that the fundamental element in humanity is to care for one another.
“This is an important topic which we should address at all levels, and under my portfolio, we are doing a lot of things which the mainstream education alone cannot address and through collaboration such as this, we can rectify it more efficiently.
“Kudos to the organisers (Kiwanis & Delta Clinic Australia ) for initiating the symposium which is much needed for those practitioners in the field especially teachers, counsellors and so on. The academic pursuit has outshone other things when we have serious problems among young students, especially those from the B40 group.
“This programme is very much related to the state’s initiatives and interest to care for the people, as we should not merely just talk about being a caring society but we should do it. We should be able to give care to those who need it,” said Ramasamy in his opening speech at the event today.
Ramasamy, who holds the portfolio of economic planning, education, human resources and science, technology & innovation, also shared some statistical figures related to the mental health issues in Malaysia.
“According to National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 and above are suffering from mental health challenges. This means 3 in every 10 are affected.
“The Malaysian Health Ministry Portal lists school refusal as an emotional condition which occurs in 1 -5 % of children and prevalent in boys and girls which is different from truancy, though not completely exclusive.
“Hence, as an exco member for education I will give my full support, let it be public or private initiatives with regards to programmes such as this, and I intend to give a small contribution to Kiwanis Club,” added Ramasamy.
Story by Tanushalini Moroter
Pix by Alissala Thian