Spreading the mental healthcare message through elected reps

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Mental Health Association (SMHA) is reaching out to people in the state through their elected representatives to spread awareness of its initiatives and programmes.

SMHA honorary secretary-general Mohan Chitran said his team set up a booth at the state assembly on Tuesday (March 5) to speak directly to the assemblymen.

"We are here to tell them that SMHA is ever ready to organise and hold mental health care-related activities in their constituencies," said Mohan.

He said some of the representatives were receptive and expressed interest in working with SMHA.

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According to Mohan, mental health has become an important component in the public healthcare system because of the pressures and challenges of daily life.

"There is a lot of stress that people have to go through and conditions such as depression are insidious and not easily detected without expert intervention," he added.

Many stay-at-home mothers and wives have been known to suffer in silence and needed intervention or just a listening ear to cope with their emotional issues, said Mohan.

That is why it was important for the SMHA to reach out to this target group and render much-needed emotional support and help, he said, adding that elected representatives were an ideal avenue for the purpose.

Besides briefing the assemblymen, the SMHA team also distributed pamphlets detailing the services available.

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Mohan said SMHA also hoped to work with the Selangor government to get involved in its mental health initiative Selangor Mental Sihat (Sehat).

"We hope the state government will involve us," he added, thanking former speaker Datuk Ng Suee Lim and current Speaker Lau Weng San for their support.

In an interview with The Star last year, Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had welcomed SMHA's formation.

The Ruler also gave his blessing to SMHA's plans to reach out to the state government regarding a collaboration.

"I noticed that staying in Selangor comes with a lot of stress.

"We do need mental healthcare to be dealt with professionally here," His Royal Highness had said.

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