26 Oct 2018

PETALING JAYA, 8th October 2018 – World Mental Health Day carries the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The Day provides an opportunity to the worldwide audience to talk on mental health issues, and to discuss on ways to make mental health care a reality for people around the globe. The 2018 campaign highlighted the topic of “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”.

According to World Health Organization, half of all mental illnesses patients show symptoms as early as the age of 14. Depression is the third leading cause of death among adolescents while suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds.

Acknowledging the importance of mental health education to students and in concurrent with World Mental Health Day 2018 that falls on every 10th of October, First City University College organized 2018 Mental Health Awareness Campaign that took place a week long from the 8th of October. Staff and students of First City University College participated in the campaign.

It was the second year First City University College organizing this campaign. The aim was to emphasize on wellness, create awareness on mental issues faced by the youth and to provide support for them when they are in need. The two key messages of this campaign were “Youth and Mental Health” and “Accept and Respect”.

The Head of Student Affairs and Services Department (SASD), Dr Florence Kuek stated “The campaign was to alert the students of First City University that help is available for them in times of need. Students are prone to pressure either educational or relational”.

Hence, the Peer Helper Program (PHP), under SASD comes in helpful. It consists of members equipped with basic counselling skills. Students of First City University College may also arrange sessions with First City University College’s licensed Counsellor, Jaff Choong Gian Yong.

Jaff is a registered Counsellor under the Board of Counsellor, Malaysia since 2017, and a certified NDP trainer from Institute of Dramatherapy since 2016. He stresses on the principle of “when rapport is there, trust is there, hope follows”. “I believe that special time, special place and special one are the core for all rapport building. With regards on mental health issues in a university landscape, I strive to use the limited resources to create unlimited hopes with students through such rapport building”, he added.

The highlight of the campaign was the exhibition which focused on five mental health issues; depression, bullying, suicide, LGBTQ and self-harm. The exhibition also featured several public service announcement posters used by various Organizations with regards to mental health. The exhibits were also helpful as they featured emergency contact numbers from several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for students to find help in case of need.

The staff and students of First City University College also participated in free phycology screening tests carried out by peer helpers from PHP that included interaction anxiousness, stress and self-esteem tests, and depression check-list.

Among other activities was a talk by Felix Wong, who is a lawyer, licensed Counsellor and pediatric psychologist. He presented on the topic of how to handle and curb cyber-bullying and cyber-crime, with regards to the laws and psychological aspect of the youth. He laid out six types of bullying; physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, racial and cyber bullying.

He stated “The ways for students to curb bullying are to immediately report, go to prevention unit provided at the university, and stop bullying from the roots. They should assert control, have social support system, avoid being around toxic people, and start cultivating healthy culture”.

He added, “If any student is being bullied, do not be afraid to seek for help. In the event of a bully, students must first refrain themselves from engaging with the bully, immediately tell adults about it and lodge a report to the authority when necessary”.

2018 Mental Health Awareness Campaign was a success. Students who participated in the campaign stated they now have a glimpse on how to react when bullied. For instance, Jasvina Mae A/P Ealn Davan, second-year student majoring in Software engineering stated “From the campaign, I managed to help out my fellow college mates by speaking to them after they completed a few personality tests provided by PHP”.

Another second-year student, Nawwarah Hafidz who is majoring in Information System added “I had the chance to participate in the campaign and it was a great start of the process to address mental health issues. When there are more people who are aware of mental health issues, they are more likely to open up to the assistance available for them”.

First City University College cares for the well-being of the students by providing ample support and necessary help with regards to mental health issues, ensuring the best campus environment for the students. It is also equipped with state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities to enhance students’ learning experience.