High time to address mental health support in community, workplace - Experts

KOUSALYA SELVAM
KOUSALYA SELVAM
06 Jan 2024 02:00pm
Improving mental health access in rural areas, addressing work-life balance in office and increasing awareness plays a crucial role in combatting mental health Photo: Free stock images
Improving mental health access in rural areas, addressing work-life balance in office and increasing awareness plays a crucial role in combatting mental health Photo: Free stock images
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SHAH ALAM - Improving mental health access in rural areas, addressing work-life balance in the office and increasing awareness play a crucial role in combatting mental health issues in the country.

KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital Clinical Psychologist Ummu Nazra Nadzam emphasised the need for improved mental health services in rural areas.

She pointed out that while urban areas have numerous services available, the same cannot be said for rural communities.

"In terms of community and social support, the first thing we must do is to improve the support system through service, especially mental health access in the rural areas.

"We have many services in the town but not in rural areas. Moreover, the private sector can be expensive and when it comes to the government sector it requires a very long waiting line," she told Sinar Daily.

Ummu also sheds light on the importance of mental well-being in the workplace. She urged employers to recognise the impact of stress on employees and emphasised the need for a supportive work environment.

"When it comes to working environment, the first thing to do is to educate the superior or the boss on how important it is to handle stress and care for their employees mental health issues.

"It's essential to manage workloads effectively and ensure that employees are given tasks aligned with their job descriptions," she said.

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Ummu also highlighted the importance of acknowledging employees' personal lives and providing positive affirmations.

"Simple words like 'you are doing a good job' can make a significant difference in motivating employees and improving their mental well-being," she added.

Commenting further, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) psychology counselling expert Associate Professor Dr Fauziah Mohd Sa'ad stressed the need for collaborative efforts between the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and communities to enhance accessibility to mental health services.

"Reducing stigma and fostering open conversations about mental health are crucial components of strengthening community support," Fauziah explained.

She further said that rapid modernisation and technological advancements might lead to increased stress due to lifestyle changes and information overload.

"Balancing technological progress with mental health initiatives, education, and digital well-being practices is essential for a healthier society," she said.