Subang Jaya-based SJ Care Warriors train community to address mental health issues

Original article on The Malay Mail, 23rd May 2019 by Milad Hassandarvish

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Recognising the severity of mental health issues in Malaysia, a team of medical and non-medical volunteers have joined hands to kick off a mental wellness initiative called SJ Care Warriors.

Initiated by Subang Jaya assemblywoman Michelle Ng, the movement is aimed at addressing the issues of mental illness from a community-based wellness approach focusing on resilience-building.

Although it starts in Subang Jaya, they hope to expand the initiative nationwide.         

It also has a strong message for Malaysians from all walks of life: “Do not suffer in silence.”

According to Ng, there are too many incidences of suicide and people living with depression.

“There is a need to build resilience, a resilient community,” she added in a press release.

Ng also recalled visiting a family at a funeral of their child who took her life and what struck her the most was when one of the parents said she wished she knew what to do.

It was then that Ng realised that mental health, wellness and stress management is a knowledge that could be learnt.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that approximately 800,000 people die by suicide each year.

Simply put, that’s one death every 40 seconds.

In Malaysia, police statistics show that there were more than 500 causes of people committing suicide or attempting suicide every year between 2014 and 2018.

Based on the most recent National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017 on mental health among youths in the age group of 13-17 nationwide, 20 per cent of adolescents felt depressed, while 10 per cent had suicidal ideation and 7 per cent had actually attempted suicide.

Battling mental health issues head-on

SJ Care Warriors was launched earlier this year in March, and is now gaining steam with its focus on empowering the community to help themselves and others.

Their programme is a two-pronged approach with gatekeeper training on suicide prevention by a team of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.

There’s also a team of experts with psychology and counselling background whose role is to provide a bridge to tackle the issues of mental health.

This begins from a wellness-oriented approach to building resilience at the community level and amongst the youth in general.

“This is not just a suicide prevention task force, but also an initiative to empower youths to build resilience by maintaining a healthy mental state,” said Ng.

“The wisdom to know that it is okay to be sad, what can they do when faced with adversity, stress and rejection without hurting themselves.”

Designed by psychologists and backed by universities, the Building Resilience Programme will see volunteer psychologists training counsellors and youth volunteers.

By learning to better manage their mental state of well-being, the youths will be able to empower and impart skills such as creativity in problem-solving; demonstrate empathy, compassion and kindness; and help navigate those in need to the relevant places and avenues where accessible and accurate help is provided accordingly.

All youths who have fully completed the two-day programme will be given a certificate of attendance and a collar pin.

Additionally, the gatekeeper training will help to train community leaders to identify warning signs of suicide.

Where to seek help

According to University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) consultant psychiatrist Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, there are many places that people with mental health disorders can go to in order to seek help.

Among the places are Health Ministry’s Klinik Kesihatan or Family Medicine Specialist Clinic which provide a referral letter to seek help at the government hospital’s psychiatric clinic.

Alternatively, patients may go to UMMC’s psychiatric clinic which accepts walk-ins on Monday to Friday at between 8am and 10am.

Ep.69 – Alcohol PSA

Recorded at Casa Titik, Cherating

We don’t know our numbers – we don;t know how miuch we are drinking

15 standard units per week.  If you have more then you might have a problem with drinking. Not to consume in one sitting. Take it with food.

General rule: 

  • 1 can (330ml) 4.5% alc = 1.5 standard units
  • 1 glass wine (100ml) = 1 standard units
  • 30ml liquor = 1 standard units

Lowered risk of developing drinking problems.

It’s not safe to quit cold turkey!

Please don’t drink and drive!

<< Listen Here >>

Ep.68 – Kerja Lebih Masa, Undang Padah

Temubual saya di TV3 pada 10 April 2019 bersama dengan Tuan Hj. Adnan Mat, Setiausaha Agong Cuepacs

Pengurusan masa

Masalah bermula apabila kerja lebih 55 – 60 jam sehari.

  1. Masalah fizikal
  2. Masalah mental

Puncanya… STRESS!

distress —> burn out —> masalah emosi

Isu fisiologikal – badan sedia bertindah (adrenalin, glucose).

  1. sakit jantung
  2. sakit angin ahmar

Sintom burn out:

  1. hilang minat untuk kerja
  2. penat selalu
  3. tidak ada motivasi
  4. absenteeism – tidak datang kerja
  5. presenteeism – datang kerja tapi tak buat kerja

Selfcare:

  1. masa bersenam
  2. masa dengan keluarga
  3. ambil cuti
  4. bajet teratur

<< Listen Now >>
<< Lihat di Wanita Hari Ini >> (dari minit ke-11)

Ep.67 – Substance Use Among Youths

My talk recently at the 5th ASEAN Region Primary Care Conference.

Topic for today:

  1. Challenges of dealing with youths/
  2. key concepts of addictions
  3. Substance affect on the brain
  4. Gateway Theory
  5. Cannabis Use
  6. Challenges / Solutions for treating youths

Dealing with 2 problems:

  1. the adolescences themselves
  2. they are at risk of developing substance abuse

They are looking for a sense of identity, individuality.

Substance are related to suicide.

Anything that can be made into liquid can be vaped.

Social Media and the Internet are easy access for youths to access substances.

Reduce stigma to let youths to approach family members and doctors (not peer age group)

Legal and Family issues.

Treatment needs to be tailored to the individual.

>> Listen Now <<

Ep.64 – Psychotherapy

Together with Dr. Aida Syarinas.

It is a psychological method to manage stress (talking therapy)

Types of therapies

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy – working forwards
  • Psychodynamics therapy – working backwards
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness – breathing exercises
  • Motivational Interviewing 
  • Supportive psychotherapy – assist patients to get where they need to go
  • Acceptance and Commitment therapy – for people stuck in certain life events or choric pain
  • Marital therapy
  • Eclectic therapy

Duration

Depends on individual issues:

  • CBT – 12 sessions
  • Psychodynamics – 20-40 sessions

Patients must be committed.  Once a week is common.

Requirements to be a psychotherapist:

Either:

  • Clinical psychologist with psychotherapy training
  • Psychiatrist 
  • Workshop with motivational interviewer

Ep.63 – Teenage Pregnancies

Together with Dr. Aida Syarinas on her interview with her sister Dr. Aizura Syafinaz in O&G.

Attachment theory – Importance of bonding between the infant and the primary care giver.

Anxious ambivalent attachment – strong need for closeness and affection. makes them vulnerable to sexual advances without the info of unprotected sex

Can be as young as 12.

Prevention starts from home: have a healthy relationship with your children.

  • spend quality time with children
  • talk to them about sex

Listen Now – Teenage Pregnancies

Ep.62 – Porn Addiction

A form of behavioural addiction (most well known is gambling)

Hypersexual disorder

  • If you are viewing more than 4 hours a day and starting to feel guilt or shame
  • If you are having orgasm more than 7 times a week as results to viewing porn

Men have a higher risk of this addiction.

You might have an addiction if:

  • tried to stop but unable to do so (dyscontrol)
  • lot of time spent viewing (asocial)
  • compulsive viewing (even when you are not enjoying it)
  • withdrawal symptoms if not able to watch
  • viewing more specialty material

Struggling with porn addiction:

  • going out less
  • taking risk to watch
  • watching in public space

Affects:

  • spoilt relationships
  • unable to get an erection

Biology:

  • a link with dopamine
  • changes in part of brain
  • development in less active part of brain

Sometimes linked with depression and anxiety

We are now on Spotify!

Listen Now! >> Dr Amer Siddiq on Mental Health – Porn Addiction

Ep.61 – Cara Mencari Pertolongan Kesihatan Mental

Perlu surat sokongan (referral letter) dari klinik kesihatan atau klinik swasta

Kalau kecemasan, boleh ke bahagian kecemasan untuk pertolongan yang cepat.

Isu kecemasan:

  1. isu keganasan – membahayai orang lain
  2. ingin membunuh diri

Kalau ingin menjumpai doktor (bukan pakar)

  • di LPPKN bahagian kerja sosial (social work)
  • di klinik kesihatan
  • MENTARI – Pusat Mental dan Psikiatri Komuniti

Hotline yang boleh dihubungi:

Dr Amer Siddiq on Mental Health – Cara Mencari Pertolongan Kesihatan Mental