Mental health experts discuss issues, help

|     Ishan Ibrahim     |

THE World Mental Health Day 2018 was launched at the Al-‘Afiah Hall, Ministry of Health yesterday.

The guest of honour was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman.

Also present were event co-chairperson and Psychologist Officer (Public Health) at the Health Promotion Centre Nor Syahmun binti Haji Matassan, heads of departments, senior officers, teachers, youth and students.

Head of the Health Promotion Centre and advisor of the event Dr Hajah Norhayati binti Haji Md Kassim delivered a welcoming address followed by an address by Head of Project Hope Mohd Amirul Izzuddin bin Samhiri.

Themed ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’, World Mental Health Day 2018 focusses on disturbing issues faced by youth, and these include cyber bullying, suicides, early signs of mental sickness and the traumatic experience which require the attention and time of members of society.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman and senior officers during the event
Panel of experts discussing mental health issues. – PHOTOS: ISHAN IBRAHIM

The event was highlighted by a forum of a panel of experts on discussions of mental health issues.

The Ministry of Health collaborated with students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) through Project Hope.

Experts Dayangku Dr Raidah Hayati binti Pengiran Dr Haji Mohamed from the Psychiatry Department of the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital, Assistant Lecturer at the Faculty of Usuluddin, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) Ustaz Mohd Khairul Nazif bin Haji Awang Damit, and Secretary at the Sports and Creativity Unit, KESAN Sarah binti Haji Abdul Mutalif took centre stage at the forum. Issues of concern that included the challenges faced by youth in this fast-paced world were primarily discussed at the forum.

Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, and for many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension, it was noted.

In some cases, if not recognised and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bring many benefits, can also bring additional pressure, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows, it was discussed.

In Brunei Darussalam, the initiatives and relevant guidelines are requisites to protect and empower the future generations in terms of mental issues.

Various mental health programmes dedicated to youth such as Bully-Free Brunei (Brunei Bebas Buli) campaign with cooperation from the Department of Schools, Taking Care of Our Mind and more, are examples that the society is taking a thoughtful and active stance on managing mental health problems.

Forums of open discussions will serve to reduce the stigma associated with sufferers of mental health, as well as giving advocacy and support to sufferers while highlighting the importance of taking proper care of mental health.