Mental health is the foundation of emotional and psychological well-being, profoundly affecting thoughts, emotions, and daily life. Prioritizing mental health involves stress management, seeking support, and practicing self-care. By openly discussing and addressing issues like anxiety and depression, we create a stigma-free environment that nurtures balanced and resilient individuals, fostering a healthier society.
News about the recent death of Hong Kong pop sensation Coco Lee underscore the profound repercussions of mental health challenges on families, communities, and even the entire nation. Mental health is a familiar topic to many Malaysians with almost half of respondents (42.7%) of the Gardenia KL Wellness Begins at Home 2023
Survey admitting to experiencing mental health issues, with one in four respondents admitting that they contemplated suicide due to life’s challenges. The survey revealed a concerning gap between individuals experiencing mental health issues and the proportion of those actually seeking professional assistance for their mental health conditions.
“Thanks to a collective and concerted effort by various groups, from government agencies, to non-profit organisations, to the private sector, mental health awareness has improved over the past three years (since the Covid-19 pandemic first hit). While knowledge is power, our Wellness Begins at Home 2023 survey discovered that most respondents still did not actively address their mental health issues despite knowing they were experiencing it. Gardenia KL hopes to encourage more Malaysians to progress beyond awareness and courageously act on improving mental health by normalising the practice of seeking counselling or therapy. As a community, we also have a role to play in eliminating stigma by showing kindness and respect when we are entrusted with the knowledge that a loved one is undergoing therapy,” says Gardenia Bakeries KL, Corporate Affairs and Public Relations General Manager, Hazlinah Harun.
Why is therapy or counselling still not perceived as a normal practice in Malaysia?
The conduct demonstrated by a group of 1,020 participants surveyed by Gardenia KL offers insights into this inquiry. As per the study, the three most favored courses of action chosen by the respondents in addressing difficulties exhibited a tendency towards avoidance or passivity.
49.41% hoped the problem would blow over on its
own, 43.51% turned to God, while 40.45% chose to ignore the problem altogether. On the lower end
of the spectrum, 23.47% asked for help among friends and a mere 10.7% sought out a therapist or
psychologist for help.
At the panel discussion titled “Gardenia KL Wellness Begins At Home 2023”, Anita Abu Bakar, the President of the Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (MIASA), emphasized the significance of sharing feelings by confiding in others.
“Challenges can get very debilitating if you don’t get the needed help. From our experience, we’re seeing a pattern. In the near future it could be highly possible that people with mental health disorders in Malaysia outnumber the people without. That’s why we must share the message with Malaysians that we are not alone, that these (challenges) too will pass and to reach out for help. A reliable support system in everyone’s life is a significant factor that leads to a healthy mind.”
Tips that might help start the journey as a first timer seeking professional help:
1. Do a stress and anxiety scale test to have a rough gauge
“I would recommend anyone who has little to no clue as to whether they need therapy, do a
stress and anxiety scale test first . It is not a clinical test, but it helps us to gauge our stress and
anxiety level. If the result comes out as 'severe,' that's when you know you need to consider
meeting a clinical psychiatrist,” says Anita.
See Depression, Anxiety & Stress Scale (DASS) self-test here
2. Request an online consultation
Participating in virtual consultations is not obligatory; nevertheless, it can prove beneficial for individuals who have reservations about engaging with a psychiatrist in a face-to-face setting. After taking that step, you can arrange an in-person consultation whenever you reach a level of comfort that makes you feel ready for it.
3. Remember that the therapy will be long journey
Anita adds that going to therapy could be a long journey before one achieves a better mental state.
“We must engage in various activities that will contribute to our mental wellbeing. It is crucial to stay positive throughout the journey and never give up hope, regardless of how challenging the situation is or how many obstacles we need to overcome.”
In a situation that you or someone in your circle is grappling with a mental health emergency, we urge you to connect with MIASA through their website, www.miasa.org.my. They provide a range of resources, including mental health assessments, consultations, counseling, spiritual therapy, therapeutic evaluations, psychological assistance, and support from peers. Another option is to get in touch with the MIASA 24-hour helpline at 1-800-820-066.
About Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd (Gardenia KL)
Founded in the year 1986, Gardenia KL has evolved into the foremost bread producer in Southeast Asia. With over 35 years of history, Gardenia KL now manages multiple bakeries across Malaysia and manufactures an array of 59 daily products. These offerings encompass a diverse selection of bread, buns, rolls, cakes, waffles, along with additional items like spreads, yellow noodles, and instant noodles.
On a daily basis, Gardenia distributes fresh bread free of charge to more than 80 charitable institutions, including facilities like nursing homes, orphanages, centers, and schools catering to individuals with special needs. Remarkably, eight of these organizations have been recipients of Gardenia KL’s donations since 1991.
Gardenia KL holds vital importance as Malaysia’s premier bread brand, fostering over three decades of trust. Its widespread presence and diverse product range make it an integral part of daily sustenance and a symbol of quality across the nation.