Experts share tips on mental health care

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 25 Jul 2020

PETALING JAYA: Managing grief at having lost a loved one, dealing with job loss and hopelessness were among issues tackled by a panel of experts during during a recent webinar titled “Healing Hearts: Managing Mental Health During A World Pandemic”.

Taylor’s University psychology programme director Assoc Prof Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan (pic) said the Covid-19 pandemic was an unexpected situation that impacted people in different ways.

Dr Anasuya noted that grief was not the same as depression, adding that grief comes from love, a reverence for the person that passed on.

She suggested ways for the grieving to cope, including having a ritual at home to show respect and appreciate for the loved one.

“It (the ritual) can be something small or something more complex,” she said during the webinar organised by Star Media Group with Taylor’s University as the educational partner on Thursday.

Dr Anasuya suggested that those grieving could either draw or create an altar for the person who passed away, noting that it was important for people to do something meaningful for themselves.

“It will help you manage your grief and loss,” she said.

With people also suffering from job losses due to the pandemic, Dr Anasuya said it was important to evaluate their mindset by acknowledging that they may be a victim of circumstance but would not continue be so.

Instead, she said they could analyse their “core strengths” so that they could rebrand themselves and move forward.

Befrienders KL executive director Kenny Lim advised those in despair over losing their jobs to seek out someone they can trust.

“Knowing that someone is there for you helps a lot.

“It is not possible to ask for a job but you can ask for support,” he said.

Lim pointed out that Befrienders received an average of 82 calls a day with up to 38% expressing suicidal ideas during the movement control order.

“Those who are feeling suicidal usually have expressed feelings of hopelessness and helplessness,” he said.

However, he said those supporting someone who was in distress or feeling suicidal could provide emotional support through active listening or by showing empathy and acceptance.

Lim advised listeners not to judge but to listen with compassion by asking questions, not giving false assurances, and give space when answers are not forthcoming.

Meanwhile, special guest speaker, Dr Jezamine Lim Iskander shared her personal experience in coping with the pandemic.

Jezamine, who is the founder of The Joke Factory and The Hope Branch, said it was important to have a positive mindset, adding that the pandemic had allowed her to spend time with her family.

She shared how she struggled with e-learning with her three children but noted that they managed to eventually work it ou.

She advised parents unable to cope to be kind to themselves and to “go with the flow”.

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