Mall provides safe space for mental health awareness

Tengku Puteri Iman and Brien launching the ‘We Are With You’ at Suria KLCC last week, as Lim (left) and Dr Mohanraj (right) look on.

THE last thing one would expect when stepping into a shopping centre is to find a retail space that is dedicated to promoting awareness about mental health.

This is what is being done now at Suria KLCC, which is taking things one notch further when it comes to mental health by holding a month-long corporate social responsibility campaign to normalise conversations around this subject matter.

Called “We Are With You”, the campaign was launched on Nov 12 by Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah, founder and president of the Green Ribbon Group, which is one of the four organisations supporting the campaign.

The others are the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA), Befrienders Kuala Lumpur and Relate Malaysia.

Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd executive director and chief executive officer Andrew Brien said, “We are mainstreaming the subject of mental health by creating a safe space in our malls (including Alamanda Putrajaya and Mesra Mall) for people to step in to get acquainted with mental health.

“In this spirit, we would like to encourage all other businesses to step up and support the community by raising awareness.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals in recent years, as illustrated by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO also said the gap between people needing care and those with access to such care remained significant, while effective treatment coverage remained extremely low in many cases.

Tengku Puteri Iman said by highlighting mental health in such a visible manner, the issue was really being brought to the forefront.

“You are really acknowledging the issue and setting aside a space like this is a good step in the right direction.

“This can be a place where you just step aside if you feel overwhelmed, somewhere to gather your thoughts.

“It is also a place where one can learn more about mental health issues.

“It is important to know that one is not alone in their struggles.

“This is like a mental health cafe, where one can feel supported, and where conversations about mental health is not taboo,” she said.

Also present were MMHA president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj and Befrienders KL executive director Kenny Lim.

Dr Mohanraj, who is also policy advisor to the Green Ribbon Group, said: “It is important to continuously educate the people on mental health because most Malaysians tend to stigmatise it.

“In this spirit, this endeavour to bring mental health to the forefront is highly laudable.”

Running until Dec 8, Safe Space @ Suria KLCC is open from 10am to 10pm daily.

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