Miri – 1 December 2015 – The Miri Inaugural Mental Health Conference will be held at the Harry Perkins Lecture Theatre at the Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) campus this Saturday.
It is being jointly organised by the Mental Health Association of Sarawak (Miri Branch), Miri Hospital, Sarawak Welfare Department and the university’s Office of Student Affairs.
The conference’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Ismail Bin Drahman, State Psychiatrist and Consultant Geriatric of the Sarawak General Hospital, who will talk about mental health literacy.
Other speakers will be the Sarawak General Hospital’s Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Selvasingam Ratnasingam, Miri Hospital’s Registered Counsellor Mas Binti Jali, Welfare Department Officer Noorhidayati binti Narawi and Registered Counsellor Christine Lau Siik Hung and Curtin Sarawak’s Dean of Students Dr. Adeline Wong, who will talk about psychological first aid, substance abuse, domestic violence and work-life balance respectively.
Apart from the conference sessions, the Miri Mental Health Association, Miri Sunflower Centre, Palliative Care Association of Miri and National Anti-Drugs Agency and other non-profit organisations will be opening booths at the conference venue to promote mental well-being.
Speaking about the conference, Dr. Wong commented that mental health issues are rapidly becoming a reality that society needs to address to ensure people are prepared to face the increasing demands and complexities of life.
She said that, according to the World Health Organisation, mental and behavioural disorders are estimated to account for 12 percent of the global burden of disease. In Malaysia, the National Mental Health Policy was put in place in 1998 with the aim to provide treatment and rehabilitation for those with chronic disabilities as well as provide adequate and appropriate facilities for the care of sufferers.
“The conference will be an avenue for people in Miri and the surrounding region to network, share and gain a better understanding of mental health and mental health dysfunctions, the impact on the individual, the family, and ultimately on society,” she added.
She said Curtin Sarawak was pleased to support the conference as the mental health and well-being of its students and staff was one of its top priorities and her Office of Student Affairs actively engages with students and staff on such matters. It has a number of qualified psychologists and counsellors who assist individuals who may need help in addressing issues related to their mental well-being.
Curtin Sarawak also has a Student Health and Wellbeing Committee comprising representatives from various areas to help the university provide a proactive, coordinated and planned approach to ensuring a safe physical and emotional environment at its campus.