Spreading mental health awareness through staging of “Halusinasi”

By Maisarah Mijar

GOMBAK, 16 October 2018 – A theatre “Halusinasi” brought by the Secretariat of Psychology (Psycsta) in collaboration with Orphix Production aimed at spreading awareness and seeking society’s understanding of misconceptions towards mental illness marked the end of the World Mental Health Week with a difference.

Held at Mini Auditorium at IIUM campus here, “Halusinasi” retained its uniqueness. As it is aimed to spread awareness, the Secretariat has prepped up with a lot of preparations, including the initiative to educate the audience by asking them to flash the light from their hand phones with a 360 circular motion, if any of the audiences is triggered by the play, and the team had assigned members at each angle to help with any of the audience.

“It is the whole team’s hope, and not only for me, but for the audience to put an end to the stigma that they have heard of issues surrounding mental health,” said Fazirah Fairuz, the event’s Programme Manager, before the play started.

The play focused on illustrating the “Depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder” (DID) and how Hajar, the protagonist, faced her everyday life following the death of her father. DID happens when the patient faces a traumatic event in life in which case Hajar was only 13 years old when she lost her father whom she really loved and cared so much.

The play sold 700 tickets and it succeeded in entertaining the audiences with superb acting.

“The casts that played as Hajar and Siti are really talented. The emotional elements they conveyed are really magnificent,” said Nabila Kamarulzaman, one of the audiences from Universiti of Malaya.

The climax of the play was when Hajar found out that her best friend, Azad, was the one who started the rumour of her mother that betrayed their friendship. The plot then resolved after Hajar calmed herself as the hashtag goes #BounceBackStronger and she decided to meet a therapist.

And before the curtain fell, the show ended with the production team got on the stage one by one to show that they are supportive of Hajar, synchronised with the hashtag #HereForYou.

One of the audiences also said that she had goosebumps when Hajar was mocked and criticised by the villagers because it seems irrelevant, but that is what is happening around for some people who are diagnosed with mental illness.

On the other hand, some of the audiences expressed their feelings on Twitter saying that they were affected by the theatre, on how the theatre has changed their perception towards mental illness. However, some of them enunciated that they were disappointed with how the audience had reacted. “They had the audacity to laugh when they were portraying about a certain type of mental disorder,” said one of the Twitter users.

Overall, the committee felt that the awareness intended to be created among the audiences by Psycsta and Orphix Production through the staging of “Halusinasi” was a real success.***

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