16 – 17 October 2014 – In line with this year’s World Mental Health Day, several activities were organised for the IMU Mental Health Day (MHD) with the theme “Living with Schizophrenia.” One of the activities was an exhibition which was held from 16 to 17 October 2014. This exhibition had useful information about schizophrenia, tips on self-care, stress management, nutrition and diet, as well as reliable resources for more information. There was a continuous flow of students dropping by to read the contents of the exhibition daily. They found the information and resources to be very helpful.
Activities to attract students to the exhibition included the “Hearty Search” where participants were directed to walk around the campus to search for five heart shaped-like papers which were exclusive items specially prepared by the MHD committees. Participants who were able to complete the mission received a reward. Another activity that received very encouraging support from the students were the “Happy Foods” booth, a food testing booth set up to distribute food that make people happy to students and staff. These include such food as chocolates, bananas and grapes. The aim was to disseminate knowledge on the importance of the effects certain foods might have on our emotions. Donations for the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) were collected at the exhibition. Cookies were also sold at the exhibition to raise funds for MMHA. Bookmarks and cute positive quotes roll, designed by the Mental Health Day committee were also distributed during the exhibition to students and other participants as a resource and encouragement to the IMU community.
Students were also given the opportunity to convey positive messages to patients with mental disorders on colourful sticky notes. An overwhelming collection of messages were received and passed to MMHA.
On 17 October, a forum on ‘Living With Schizophrenia’ was organised by the IMU Counselling Unit together with the Mental Health Day Committee in collaboration with Asian Medical Students Association (AMSA). A total of over 200 participants, including IMU students, students from other universities such as Birmingham City University, HELP International School, HELP University, UTAR, USM and UCSI as well as the caregiver support group, attended this forum.
A/Prof Philip George who is a psychiatrist and an Associate Professor at IMU, shared an interesting talk on ‘The Truth about Schizophrenia’. He shared some facts about schizophrenia that the audience may not know and valuable personal experiences. Many positive feedbacks were received and the audience clearly enjoyed the talk. Another speaker was Mr Benjamin Dorai, who is a caregiver of a person living with schizophrenia. He shared with the audience the emotional toll schizophrenia can have on the entire family. He also spoke on the obstacles faced by family/caregiver. The audience were very inspired by his sharing.
The talks were followed by the Q&A session and a forum discussion on schizophrenia. There were five speakers for the forum discussion: A/Prof Philip George, Dr Nicole Chen who is a counselor and lecturer in IMU, Dr Chee Jiunn Heng who is an IMU alumnus, Dr Eileen Nadarajah who is the committee member of Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA), and Madam Poh Kim Pheng who is the Vice President of MMHA. ‘Medication for Treatment of Schizophrenia’ was presented by A/Prof Philip George, ‘Psychotherapy and Mental Health Support for Patients’ by Dr Nicole Chen, ‘What Young People Should Know about Early Warning Signs’ by Dr Chee, “Psychological Rehabilitation and Community Services for Patient and Caregiver of Schizophrenia” by Dr Eileen, and ‘Road to Recovery for Person with Schizophrenia’ by Madam Poh.
The session ended with the prize giving ceremony for a art competition as well as the handing out of certificates to the participants. The forum received many positive feedbacks and encouraging support based on the evaluation forms that were returned.