Breaking stigma of men’s mental health

Izah Azahari

A special forum on ‘Men – Breaking Barriers for A Better Mental Health’ was held at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital yesterday, organised by the Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Health Promotion Centre (HPC) in cooperation with Big Begawan Project and the Community Psychology Division.

The event marking the Men’s Health Awareness Month (Movember) and World Health Day 2020, aimed to enhance awareness on the importance of mental health and decrease the stigma surrounding it, while enhancing awareness on the importance of healthcare as a whole among men.

Through the forum, the MoH hopes to help the public understand the importance of maintaining mental health, especially in men as well as to arrest stigma towards individuals needing help and support.

The public is also urged to be more open-minded and offer help and support to those suffering from mental stress.

Some 150 individuals attended the forum, attended by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar as the guest of honour.

It was moderated by the Brunei Counselling Association (PERKAB) President Major (Rtd) Rusli bin Bujang. Panellists Psychologist Zahid bin Haji Md Daud from the Psychology Clinic Division at the MoH, Oncology Consultant at the MoH Dr Haji Muhammad Syafiq bin Abdullah, Assistant Psychologist Ustaz Fariszal bin Ali from the Prisons Department, Founder of Dilscoffeetrail Shaikh Haji Fadillah bin Shaikh Haji Ahmad, and Founder of Big Begawan Project Noorhafizah binti Haji Rashid discussed the importance of men’s physical and mental health.

Meanwhile, the MoH advises individuals with mental health issues to seek immediate treatment from experts, contact the Hope Line (Talian Harapan) at 145, or see a general practitioner.

Permanent Secretary at the MoH Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Management) at the MoH Haji Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif, heads of departments, officers and staff at the MoH and representatives from the private sector were also present.

ABOVE & BELOW: Panellists and guests at the forum. PHOTOS: IZAH AZAHARI