Forum highlights importance of mental health

Azlan Othman

“Psychological factors, family, personality, trauma of children and teenagers, unhealthy lifestyle, the use of illicit substances are contributors to mental health problems,” said Associate Specialist at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Dr Pengiran Suryani binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sani yesterday at the forum of the Knowledge Convention 2020 entitled Mental ku eh at the Kampong Rataie National Housing Scheme Mosque in the Temburong District.

She added that all age groups are susceptible to mental health problems; people who are exposed to prolonged stress have a higher risk of developing mental disorders.

Dr Pengiran Suryani binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sani explained that mental health is a well-being that includes emotions, the ability to adapt to changes, the ability to interact with people and the ability to deal with life problems.

Fellow panelist and Director of Fiqh Al-Usrah Studies Centre at Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) Ustaz Hilman bin Haji Salim added that maintaining mental health is very important in Islam.

“Mental health is the test of faith that a person possesses especially in facing of stress and problems,” he said. Faith is not only related to one’s practice, but it is related to the spiritual strength to fight off anxiety, sadness and confusion.

He added, “In Maqasid Syariah (objective of Islamic law), maintaining the mind is one of the five obligations that must be cared for by every Muslim to ensure the well-being of self and the society. The importance of maintaining the intellect in Islam is also proven, for example, in the obligatory condition of prayer that is rational. Islam explains some important things to protect mental health including emphasising on friendship, which is one of the easiest ways, and performing practices and prayers to calm the soul such as Dhuha prayers.

Panelists at the forum. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

Ministry of Health psychology officer Nor Syahmun binti Haji Matassan, believed “that our ability to maintain mental health is subject to our durability. Self-reliance is different for everyone, especially in dealing with issues and problems that arise in life”.

However, although different, such resilience can be formed or strengthened in several ways namely by maintaining relationships with people around, including family and relatives to gain social support, forming perspectives and views that are good for yourself and those around you, have feelings of affection and self-confidence, learn to be prepared, and accept the changes that occur in life”, she added.

Meanwhile, Legislative Council member and village head of Mukim Bokok Yang Berhormat Awang Haji Emran bin Haji Sabtu and Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Religion) at the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) Awang Haji Mohd Serudin bin Haji Timbang were also present.

Assistant Head of Publication Centre at KUPU SB Dr Nazirul Mubin bin Ahad was the forum moderator.

Among the objectives of the forum was to discuss the factors that deteriorate mental health, stigmas surrounding mental disorders and the importance of preserving mental health.

The next forum on ‘Wisdom from COVID-19 pandemic’ will be held at the Kuala Belait Conference Hall on February 2 at 9am, alongside an exhibition related to healthcare.

Forums and exhibitions to mark the Knowledge Convention are jointly organised by MoH, MoRA, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali and KUPU SB under working committee for side events of the convention.