Mental Health @ WorkPlace Forum - Qualitas Health

Assalamualaikum and Olla everyone! 

Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend an insightful panel session themed  “Mental Health @ Workplace: The Unspoken Truth that was organized by Qualitas Medical Group. As a HR Consultant by day, I realized that this is an important matter at hand. Throughout my humble journey as a HR practitioner, it is important for an employer to recognize that employees are entitled to request for medical leave or take a rest day when they are feeling under the weather or physically unfit for work. However, sick leave or medical leave for employees is suffering from mental health issues is almost unheard of. This is a common stigma that needs to be urgently addressed amongst Malaysian, employers, and not merely swept under the carpet

From this event, I learned that there are many types of mental health illnesses. For example, anxiety,  stress and depression are merely a few of the common ones that many have heard of. While these are commonly heard of, many are still unaware that these mental health conditions can potentially affect a person's productivity. It is no different from when a person is having a fever, and is physically unfit to work. Why then should we treat employees who are suffering from mental health illnesses differently and expect them  to  deliver the same quality of work while battling mental health issues?
The Forum was hosted at Mont Kiara and YB Puan Hannah Yeoh was present to officiate the session, along with various experts and representatives from the Ministry of Health, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH) as well as Third Party Administrators, corporate and industrial leaders. Some of these key experts shared their insights at the panel session. I will introduce them in the later paragraphs. I am so glad that Qualitas, as a leading primary healthcare provider in Malaysia, organised this initiative to further raise awareness on this pressing matter.

As a leader in the primary healthcare provider sector, this move sets as a good example, and hopefully, more industry captains would come forward and work together to address this matter.

The forum saw over 100 guests from both the public and private sectors. I was indeed very humbled to be in the same room with many other HR practitioners, subject matter experts and other distinguished guests. Through social media, I hope to raise awareness to change the mindset of at least, some Malaysians, and at least bring this topic up on the table for discussion.

Ybhg. Dato Dr Noorul Ameen Mohamed Ishack, Chairman and Managing Director, Qualitas Medical Group giving his opening remarks at forum held today themed, ‘Mental Health at The Workplace: The Unspoken Truth’

At the Forum,  the Chairman & Managing Director ofr Qualitas Medical Group Sdn Bhd - YBhg. Dato's Dr Noorul Ameen Mohammed Ishack shared that Qualitas believes that it is important to upskill those who are in the medical line to manage and provide offer help to those who suffer from mental health issues. Further, he also stressed for Insurance companies can also play a role by allowing mental health treatment costs to be covered as this would allow patients to seek help and treatment.He also mentioned that so far,  only AIA Bhd provides such coverage. He further emphasized that there is so much more to be done by various parties so that Malaysians can have better access to mental health treatments.

(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’.

This is also the first time I was able to witness YB Puan Hannah Yeoh at an event. From her keynote address, it is clear that she is very passionate and concerned about this issue and shared a few positive government initiatives that have been implemented so far. She shared that the Talian Kasih hotline surprisingly received more calls these days from children from as young as 4 years old because they were lonely. As a parent, it broke my heart to hear such statistics. Separately, she also shared that many old folks not only need physical care, but also support and care as many suffer from mental health illnesses. The situation also when the caretakers are not fully trained to handle such matters and provide comfort to such patients. YB Hannah’s sharing made me realise that mental health issues can affect anyone as young as a child, youths, working adults and even the older generation. This is why I  that it is very noble of Qualitas to want to offer training services to those who require such capabilities to handle such situations, upskilling them to prepare for such As a HR Consultant, I would love to have the opportunity to attend such trainings to also do my best to give assistance whenever required.

The speaker presentations at the forum also provided, I gained various insights and key findings. Many thanks to Dr Rajinderjit Signh Hullon (Deputy Director, Occupational Health Division, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Ministry of Human Resources) and also Dr Pusmawary Matthews (Family Medicine Specialist & Occupational Health Doctor, Qualitas Medical Group) for their respective presentations.

As you can see from the snippet of the presentation, the stats shared that 1 out of 5 people are actually depressed, 2 in 5 people are anxious and 1 out of 10 people are stressed. How alarming are these numbers? Hopefully, more parties would step forward and encourage individuals such as you and me to come forward and seek help if we are suffering from mental health issues before it leads to other more serious mental health issues such as schizophrenia and more.  

In a nut shell, mental health should not be taken lightly by anyone . We can always lend an ear to understand others around us and to check if anyone around us is suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Help them see that it is okay to reach out and seek help, as that’s the first step to getting better.

We are at the end of this post and I hope more and more people will take this matter seriously and remind themselves to take care of each other. Till next blogpost, don’t forget to take it easy and smile! 


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