Rector calls for normalising mental health in daily conversations

By Husna Fathiyyah Mohd Fairuz

GOMBAK, 18 November 2020: Applauding the Grand Mental Health Month Programme 2020 (GMHMP 2020) initiative by the Counselling and Career Services (CCSC), Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak expressed his hope that mental health will become part of normal daily conversation among IIUM community.

He spoke on the importance of destigmatizing mental health during GMHMP 2020’s closing ceremony on Tuesday (17 November).

In his speech, he recalled that mental health was a taboo issue during his youth, and people were quick to label mentally ill people ‘psycho’. He continued his speech envisioning if mental health is normalised.

“If we have a fever, we do not hide it. I think we should do the same with mental health. If mental health becomes a general issue, I could talk to anybody if I am not feeling alright, and people could answer “go to the counsellor”, “go to the doctor’’ because it is normal and the right thing to do. This is an issue that we need to settle.”

Rhetorically asking about how to rebrand mental health, the Rector reiterated that it is very important for people to start talking about mental health in daily setting, to ensure affected people are able to get the help and support they need.

The Rector therefore encouraged others to be more caring and trusting with one another.

While congratulating CCSC, the Rector suggested for CCSC to popularise wearing green ribbon as a symbol of mental health awareness, which acts the same way like pink ribbon for breast cancer and red ribbon for AIDS.

In addition, Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli also recommended CCSC to publish a book based on the 30 series of GMHMP 2020 Talkathon in order to spread awareness even further to the society.

The session was moderated by Saiful Redza Mohamed, who is the Chairman of GMHMP 2020. Meanwhile, in his welcoming speech Saiful expressed his happiness with GMHMP 2020’s success and felt grateful with the increasing interest of IIUM community on mental health.

He also informed the session on the plan to diversify the speakers and topics for the coming GMHMP to be held next year.

GMHMP 2020 ended successfully with prize giving ceremony and a photography session.***

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