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Build Mental Resilience and Mindfulness to address Mental Health

Mental health resilience and struggles are critical issues affecting a significant portion of Sabah’s population, and comprehensive mental health support is more pressing than ever. Recent statistics reveal that approximately 1 in 3 individuals in Malaysia grapple with some form of mental disorder.

Jannie Lasimbang, Kapayan Assemblywoman said “this alarming prevalence underscores the urgency of enhancing mental health awareness and establishing robust support systems nationwide.

“Even more concerning is that nearly half of those affected by mental health issues remain undiagnosed, leaving them vulnerable to severe complications and, in some cases, hospitalization”.

“Amidst these challenges, I am pleased to say today’s workshop on “Mental Resilience for a Lifetime: Building Mental Resilience and Mindfulness” is the third series of talks by my ADUN office in collaboration with a local NGO, Edulife. Our guest speaker is Hospital UMS psychologist, Dr Sharon Sharmini.

The Workshop, which was held at Balairaya Kg. Koidupan, Penampang, represents a significant step towards addressing the critical issue of mental health resilience. Participants said that the Workshop was a transformative event, and provided valuable insights and tools to empower individuals on their journey toward mental well-being.

Mental health resilience and struggles are significant concerns in Sabah, impacting a substantial portion of the population. At the workshop, the organisers gave away copies of the book entitled “Ketara Sedar” written by Professor Helen Lasimbang, and also pen drives containing useful self-help videos and materials on mindfulness to equip individuals with knowledge and tools to embark on a journey towards enhanced mental well-being.

They emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach to mental health.

“To address the existing mental health challenges in Malaysia, a range of treatment options and support avenues are offered for individuals seeking help. The Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) is pivotal in providing psychological therapy and support services tailored to the population’s diverse needs. These services encompass individual therapy, couple/marital counselling, family therapy, and specialized support for children with mental health concerns. The MMHA also offers psychological assessments to understand better and diagnose mental health conditions.

“In addition to the MMHA, the government has established Talian Kasih 15999, a 24-hour nationwide helpline and counselling service that offers immediate assistance and support for individuals in crisis.

“The Befrienders also operate an emotional support and suicide prevention helpline, contributing significantly to efforts to prevent tragic outcomes related to mental health struggles.

Recognizing the importance of addressing mental health challenges comprehensively, the Malaysian government has launched initiatives like MENTARI by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). These initiatives focus on improving outreach and reintegration for people with mental health problems, reducing stigma, increasing access to mental health services, and promoting overall well-being.

“Furthermore, we cannot overlook the role of lifestyle choices in managing mental health effectively.

“Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and adopting stress management techniques have been shown to alleviate the symptoms of mental health conditions effectively. These lifestyle changes are integral components of a holistic approach to mental well-being ” Jannie added.

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