Stepping up for mental health


The walk for depression event is set to take place at USJ10 Taipan, Subang Jaya. — Filepic

WALK with SJ Care Warriors and learn more about mental health at the 2019 Walk-a-hunt: Walk for Depression on July 14 at USJ10 in Taipan, Subang Jaya.

Organised by SJ Care Warriors, a mental health initiative founded by Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng, together with community leaders, the event aims to raise awareness and de-stigmatise depression.

Organising chairman Har Yin Geong said participants have to pair up and walk around the Taipan business area for the treasure hunt.

“Previously, there were other activities such as running and cycling events. Former Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh also did a lot of awareness campaigns; this walk is a continuation of those efforts.

“Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) related to mental health will be invited to set up booths at the event to spread awareness,” he said.

For Har, the mental health issue is close to his heart because 10 years ago, his brother took his own life because of depression.

Ng said with about 400 people targeted to take part in the event, it was hoped that NGOs, professional and support groups would be engaged to educate people on where to seek help.

“We want to get the conversation going about mental health and to promote the mental health task force under my office – SJ Care Warriors,” she said.

She also said they wanted to engage community front liners to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge.

This group included community leaders, the police, fire department, welfare department and religious leaders.

“The idea is that once there is buy in at that level, we will be able to achieve a trickling down effect to the entire community.

“For Subang Jaya, I am informed by the police that although we have only reached the half year mark, the number of suicide and attempted suicide cases is already the same as last year,” Ng said.

SJ Care Warriors had its inception meeting on March 31. It was founded in response to the increasing number of suicide and attempted suicide cases in Subang Jaya as well as the need to manage good mental health and alleviate the stigma over mental illness and seeking help.

Ng said Subang Jaya Care Warriors consisted entirely of volunteers who are passionate to improve the area of mental health. The team included professional clinical psychiatrists and psychologists to advise, guide and vet the programmes conducted.

Subang Jaya Care Warriors takes a two-pronged approach to tackle the issue of mental health, namely gatekeeper training on suicide prevention and a wellness-oriented approach to building resilience at the community level and amongst the youth in general.

So far, SJ Care Warriors has held two suicide prevention programmes that were conducted by Pheh Khai Shuen, a lecturer from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. Forty-three community leaders have been trained so far.

“This arm of the programme is targeted at community leaders such as resident association or Rukun Tetangga committee members, religious leaders, police, and firemen because they are in frequent contact with the community.

“So strategically, by training the right people, the effect of the programme would have a greater reach,” Ng said, adding that they aim to roll out the first wellness programme in July.

The 2019 Walk-a-hunt: Walk for Depression will take place on July 14 from 8am to 11am at USJ10, Taipan. Registration fee is RM60 for a group of two.

Proceeds from the event will go to Befrienders, Malaysian Mental Health Association, Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association, Relate Malaysia, Welfare Department, Malaysian Psychiatric Association and Malaysia Society of Clinical Psychology.

To register, go to bit.ly/WalkAHunt2019

For details, email june.liang@frost.com

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