KAJANG, 21st AUGUST – UNITEN’s Guidance and Counseling Unit (GCU) organized a remarkable event called “Mental Health Awareness Program – Soul Shelter” on 17th August 2017, from 9am to 10:30pm. The entire day was filled with a variety of significant events that were joined by students and members of staff for a better understanding on mental health. Among these events included several talks, workshops as well as several performances to highlight the dire importance of mental health awareness.
The program director, Puan Husni Mohammad Radzi, mentioned that it was believed that some of our students were dealing with different types of mental health issues and were even struggling with great depression and that they did not know where or how to get help. This event was organised to help students realise that mental health is serious. All of the activities held on the day were to spread awareness regarding mental health. Puan Husni hopes that this program was able to put GCU on the students’ radar so that they could reach out for the help they need.
Three talks were conducted on the day from 9 am till 4:30pm. The first talk was given by Assoc. Prof Dr. Mardiana entitled “What is Mental Health?”. Her sharing session was an introduction to mental health and aimed to educate the audience regarding mental illness among students and society. In her session, she said, “The social stigma is one of the hardest challenge with mental issues. Let’s try to be more aware for a start, in order to reduce this social stigma and be very supportive.”
The second talk was entitled “Stress and Anxiety” by Dr. Mimi Iznita. The session focused on identifying and differentiating stress, anxiety and depression. She stated wisely, “Human beings are never free from stress, but what we can do is to have the right mindset and change the stress into a challenge. Spread the word of getting professional help. There is nothing wrong with that,” added Puan Husni at the end of the talk.
The last session was with Dr. Noh on “Stress Management: Relaxation Techniques”. The session provided multiple methods that involved breathing and visualisation techniques to help students relax. “Stress is like holding on to a glass of water. It may not be heavy, but holding it for an extended period of time will make your hand weary. It is up to you whether you want to keep holding onto it or to let go,” said one of the participants attending the talk. In the end, what we need may just be a positive outlook on life and things will be a lot brighter.
Besides talks, there were also two workshops, which were “Mold Your Inner Peace”, a clay art workshop and “Doodle Your Stress Away”, a doodle art workshop. These two workshops were conducted by Mr. Nicholas Lim and Mr. Arif Rafhan Othman. The main objective of these two workshops was to find a calming and relaxing hobby as an alternative cope with stress.
The highlight of the event was the Evening Talent Show Performance where a number of students and alumni gave fantastic and memorable performances. From singing to poetry, their performances left a deep impact with the audience.
A alumnus of UNITEN, Mohd Nazmi Ahmad shared with the audience his life journey as a person who was dealing with depression. He is actually living proof that having depression does not stop one from being successful. Nazmi spoke out to the audience, “Depressed people are not lazy, they just need time.” Despite having depression, Nazmi has achieved and experienced a lot of incredible things such as winning gold for the Best Thesis Awards in Water Resources and Hydrology 2017 during World Water Day as well as releasing singles.
For him, all of this was possible because of the support that he got from his brothers and friends. “One should not be ashamed or scared to get help, either from professionals or family and friends,” said Nazmi, “But it is totally fine if you don’t want to talk to anyone about it. You don’t have to force yourself if you are not comfortable with it, but I strongly believe that reaching out to the professionals, such as doctors and counselors, could help you in various ways.”
All in all, the Mental Health Awareness Program was a success and the organiser, GCU, hopes that this event could help erase the stigma of going to the counselor as a taboo. We, from NADi UNITEN, would like to wish all the best to all the UNITEN students in the upcoming finals and to always remember to have some time to relax.
Written by : Nur Syafiqah and Andrew Chan