TWO organisations have come up with a resilience-building programme to help Penangites develop pro-social behaviour and skill sets.
Known as ‘Penang Youth Resilience Superstars’, the programme is open to those aged between 15 and 35 and limited to 20 participants per cohort.
The sessions are structured with role play, assignments, group discussions and individual activities, and will be carried out via Zoom meetings from 3pm to 6pm on selected dates.
It is jointly organised by Pertubuhan Wanita Mutiara Pulau Pinang and Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC) in view of the many negative ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pertubuhan Wanita Mutiara Pulau Pinang chairman Tan Lean Kee said mental health care was as much a necessity as physical health care for society at large, especially youths.
“Resilience enables youths who are struggling with difficult or negative circumstances to grow.
“It helps them develop into useful and functional members of society despite their adverse circumstances,” she said at the programme launching via Zoom last Friday.
The programme comprises modules on cognitive-behaviour therapy, behavioural activation and social skills training.
It will touch on topics like a healthy lifestyle, building self- esteem, feelings and thoughts, stress management, relationship and social skills, problem-solving steps and a hopeful future.
Leading the programme are Datuk Dr Lai Fong Hwa, who is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, cognitive behaviour therapist and family therapist; and Datin Indranee Liew, an IGCSE & UK curriculum consultant, behaviour management trainer and consultant, and mental health advocate.
Both Dr Lai and Liew believe the youths will develop stronger mental and emotional wellness through the programme.
“Research has shown three factors that promote resilience among young adults in facing challenging circumstances at home or in school.
“The three are the presence of a caring adult in their life, having a sense of belonging in a social group as well as learning skills that help them cope with negative circumstances,” said Liew.
Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said there were 609 suicide cases in 2019 and 631 in 2020 in Malaysia, according to statistics by United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
He said there were 468 cases from January to May this year, thus showing an average of two suicides a day from 2019 to May 2021.
“The majority of them – 872 – were aged 15 to 18 while 668 were aged 19 to 40.
“The numbers are a wake-up call to do more for our youths in Malaysia,” he said.
“In line with the programme tagline ‘Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You’, I would like to encourage youths to be brave and resilient, be yourself and face challenges with courage,” he said.
Also present at the Zoom meeting were PYDC board of directors Lee Wei Seang, general manager Dr Gwee Sai Ling and deputy general manager Ng Hooi Ting.
Under the programme, invited master trainers will also conduct ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions to grow the number of competent trainers so that more youths will benefit from the programme.
The sessions, which are open to all Penangites above 21 years old, will take place on Sept 11 and 18.
For enquiries, call PYDC at 012-401 0186 or check its Facebook page for daily updates.
Those interested in the cohort sessions can sign up via https://forms.gle/UYcuRUgLf7DrP9JY8.