‘Social stigma against mental health must be corrected’

Dr Ting (right) visits one of the booths, accompanied by Miri Hospital director Dr Jack Wong (left) and Chai.

MIRI: There is a dire need to correct the social stigma against mental health and counselling services, to provide a proper avenue for those suffering from mental illness to be able to seek professional advice.

Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon pointed out that the misconception against mental illness has created barrier among the local community here, causing many to refrain from seeking help when they needed it.

“Good health is not just about physical health; it also includes mental health. The interaction between physical and mental health could affect your overall health condition. When we are sick physically, we seek doctor’s advice. Similarly, when it comes to mental health issues, the help from a counsellor is needed.”

In Malaysia, he added, one in three people is suffering from mental health-related issues, such as anxiety, depression or other more serious mental illnesses.

“Though there is relatively shortage of counsellors in the community, there is adequate avenue if anyone requires their service,” said Dr Ting in his address when officiating at the ‘Men and Mental Health: The Silent Killer’ forum organised by National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) at Pustaka Miri yesterday.

LPPKN state director Dennis Chai Cheng Ho disclosed that among the services provided by the agency, the Family Counselling Service aims to help families and/or individuals with mental-related illness.

“Based on the record by LPPKN Sarawak, the agency has provided a total of 621 counselling sessions for individuals and 110 counselling sessions for families between 2016 and 2018.

“As for family counselling service, it is not restricted to only counselling session, but also includes various different programmes that mainly help those who are willing to identify their personal issues.

“Interactive programmes such as Program Kembara Kaunseling, a community-based activity, have benefitted 1,064 individuals who participated in the programme between 2016 and 2018, whilst Program Terapi Minda mainly helps participants improve their self-defence, work productivity as well as the wellbeing of individuals, families and organisations,” said Chai.

Apart from helping teenagers and working adults, Program Terapi Kesunyian also focuses on senior citizens who face issues such as loneliness, assisting them through therapy and group interaction activities.

Between 2016 and 2018, a total of 347 senior citizens have benefited from the programme.

The forum, which was held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day observed every year on October 10, saw eight public agencies putting up booths and sharing relevant information to visitors.

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Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/10/30/social-stigma-against-mental-health-must-be-corrected/