Mental Health at the Workplace Forum

November 21, 2019
(L-R) Mr Karim Dhala, Director of Corporate Services, Qualitas Medical Group, Ybhg. Dr Koh Kar Chai, Honorary General Treasurer, Malaysian Medical Association (“MMA”), YB Hannah Yeoh, Deputy Minister Women, Family and Community Development, Ybhg. Dato Dr Noorul Ameen Mohamed Ishack, Chairman and Managing Director, Qualitas Medical Group and Ybhg. Dato Dr R.S Kumar, Chairman of Medical Governance Board, Qualitas Medical Group officiating a forum themed, ‘Mental Health at The Workplace: The Unspoken Truth’.

Qualitas Medical Group organised a forum titled “Mental Health at the Workplace: The Unspoken Truth” at the Sime Darby Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur. The main target of the panel session was to increase awareness of the issues of mental health amongst employees, insurance companies, employers, healthcare providers, as well as the government. Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH), and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) participated in the forum discussion.

Mental illnesses include a broad spectrum of disorders such mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, trauma related disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders. One of the causes of mood disorder illnesses such as depression and anxiety is high levels of persistent stress at work. Those suffering from the conditions are often reluctant to seek medical help or to openly discuss their illnesses for fear of losing their jobs, being judged or alienated from colleagues, family and friends.  

The forum encouraged those experiencing symptoms of mental illnesses to seek help at general practice (GP) clinics. Also present at the forum was Chairman and Managing Director of Qualitas Medical Group, Dato’ Dr Noorul Ameen Mohamed Ishack who in his keynote address said, “The time has come for immediate practical actions to be taken by the general practitioners, who should be empowered to play a more active and positive role in the management of mental health.”. He added that GP clinics should shift beyond supporting physical well being of patients, to become the first line of assistance for patients with mental health issues.

Yang Berhormat, Puan Hannah Yeoh, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development of Malaysia, officiated the event which saw the attendance of approximately 100 guests from the public and private sectors. During her opening address, Yang Berhormat, Puan Hannah Yeoh highlighted how general practitioners can play a more active role as the first go-to clinic for everyone, from students to employees, to seek help on mental disorders.

She also stressed on the importance of de-stigmatising mental health issues in the community and revealed that she too had a brief stint of depression when she was a teenager after a major school examination, which she overcame after seeking medical help. Therefore, she emphasized on the importance of seeking medical help for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of mental health disorders, and the need for society to remove association of shame or disgrace to sufferers of mental health conditions.       

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