Educators must do more to monitor students’ mental health, says MMHA

EDUCATORS must check in regularly with students not only pertaining to academic matters but also on other social matters, says Malaysia Mental Health Association (MMHA) executive director Cheong Sue Jen following the death of two Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) recently.

“Checking in means providing an avenue for students to reach out should they have issues with the home or relationships. Educators are the touchpoint between students and universities and are hence in the best position to remain in contact,” she told FocusM.

To ease the students’ burden and to raise mental health awareness, universities can also engage them to embark on virtual health projects as people can gain strength by supporting others, Cheong suggested.

Cheong Sue Jen

The movement control order (MCO) that is currently in place saw Malaysians hunkering down at home as offices and campuses remain closed, and for students, this meant making the shift from physical classrooms to online or remote learning.

While the new setup has many benefits, it has also contributed to heightened feelings of isolation as well as stress, anxiety and depression among students.

Towards this end, Cheong encourages students to reach out to the numerous helplines which are listed on various platforms for help.

“One of the numbers listed is the helpline for MMHA. We have extended our hours from 9am to 9pm, and we will be able to provide relevant assistance to the public.

“For our community psychological services, we also gave a community subsidy which reduces the financial strain from seeking help.

“Meanwhile, the Green Ribbon Group (GRG) has also recently announced a collaboration with MMHA to enable the public easier access to therapy services with us,” she revealed.

The GRG is a foundation that aims to empower stakeholders involved in raising awareness of the monumental mental health issues people currently face and in creating viable solutions through advocacy, fundraising and collaboration.

“There are many initiatives by various individuals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) out there that can help students deal with their mental health issues, and all that the need to do is to just reach out for help,” concludes Cheong. – July 13, 2021.

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE