Tackling mental health a joint commitment, says minister

Lyna Mohamad

Qudoz Event Management, Cureheart and Peka Consultant co-organised a Mental Health Awareness Programme at Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) School of Aviation in Berakas yesterday.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, as the guest of honour, officiated the launching of the World Mental Health video.

He highlighted that His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Government will continue to take proactive measures to tackle mental health issues. The Whole of Nation approach such as collaboration between the Health Promotion Centre (HPC), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Royal Brunei Police Force produced consistent intervention in ensuring mental health particularly among students through the Brunei Bebas Buli’ campaign.

The government also allocated help lines namely Talian Kebajikan 141, Talian Anak 121 and Talian Harapan 145 as a safe space for callers seeking counselling and advice service anonymously.

Mind Your Mind, a discussion and knowledge platform, an initiative under the MoH and Peer Empathise and Embracing Resilience (PEER) Programme under the Community Development Department (JAPEM) with the objective to equip participants with practical and interactive skills on mental health have also been implemented.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin at the event. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Panellists at the forum

The minister said this year’s theme ‘Mental Health for All, Increase Investment, Increase Access’ is important for government and non-government agencies to see mental health and tackle it as a joint commitment, particularly in changing mindset and raising awareness at an early stage.

The minister shared several observation and views, first on the importance of family and community role to ensure that ‘Health is Everyone’s Business’.

The establishment of associations and initiatives such as Brunei Darussalam Counselling Association, Cureheart, Mindful.bn, Clarity Sdn Bhd, Qudoz Event Management, Projek Assalamualaikum, Mental Health BN and Open Hearts BN, also shows many among the community realise how important it is to ensure mental health is a social responsibility.

The minister also highlighted the importance on hearing and giving voice to those suffering from mental illness.

The minister said initiatives such as Curhat DiBawah Payung by Cafehoppers.bn on the Day of Action campaign encourage open-mindedness.

The minister highlighted the need to be cautious during the pandemic. Among the best practices observed from other ASEAN member countries is the increase in counselling services and psychological and emotional support through round the clock help lines.

The event started with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah followed by speeches by organising committee Chairperson Haji Mohd Amir Rabbani bin Haji Rosli and Cureheart founder and CEO Hajah Norajleen Uminatul Hafizan binti Haji Alimas.

Haji Mohd Amir Rabbani said mental health is a serious challenge faced by the community regardless of age, status, education background, financial situation and employment. It is an issue that can happen to anyone yet many in society see it as trivial.

It is time for the community to work together towards mental healthcare, he said.

Meanwhile, Hajah Norajleen said the collaboration between the three establishments in jointly organising the event and IBTE School of Aviation as the host will increase awareness on the importance of mental care in the community.

Cureheart and Qudoz are non-government organisations (NGOs) dedicated to helping people. Cureheart is a counselling and coaching organisation aiming to help clients in making life decisions, working through change and to improve their quality of life. Qudoz is registered under the MCYS and their slogan ‘Youth For Tomorrow’ focusses on providing youth with constructive activities by moving together towards improving the quality of life.

The event featured a forum on Quality of Life and Wellbeing moderated by Nuramalina binti Abang Haji Kifrawi with panellists Counselling Psychologist and Director of Clarity Todd McPherson, Assistant Counsellor at Maraburong Prison Fariszal bin Ali and Community Development Officer Irnawati binti Haji Mahir.

The minister also visited a fitness activity by HSN Fitness, art therapy booth by Dato Paduka Haji Shofry bin Haji Abdul Ghafor, showcase from Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam, and the booths by AMLife, JAPEM, Islamic Da’wah Centre, PEKA, Cureheart and Clarity before witnessing a caning demonstration by the Prisons Department.

The morning event started with a keynote presentation by Ili Aiman binti Abdul Rahman sharing on AMLife on the importance of sleep and its relationship with mental health, and well-being followed with the first forum on Building Healthy Communities for Positive Development. Panellists at this forum were Hajah Norajleen, Diny bin Haji Karim from PEKA, Dayangku Noorbaizura binti Pengiran Haji Daud from Qudoz and Dean Walters from Clarity moderated by Sri Yani binti DP Haji Muhammad.

The event was supported by HPC, Ministry of Education and MCYS with AMLife and Ili Wax Co as main strategic partners.