My Starfish Foundation - I’m Only Human
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I’m Only Human

Quality Education

In this tech savvy generation where information access is in the fingertips of users, the term “mental health illness” is not new. In Sunway campus itself, it has been mentioned from time to time. But the stigma related to the mental health illness is still there. This is because of the lack of proper awareness about mental health illness. That is why we are doing this program to break the taboos and increase the awareness of mental health illness in Sunway community.

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Goal: RM 1.00
Fund Approved by MSF: RM 4,000.00

Overview of Issue / Background

In this tech savvy generation where information access is in the fingertips of users, the term “mental health illness” is not new. In Sunway campus itself, it has been mentioned from time to time. But the stigma related to the mental health illness is still there. This is because of the lack of proper awareness about mental health illness. That is why we are doing this program to break the taboos and increase the awareness of mental health illness in Sunway community.

Project Objectives (Vision & Mission)

The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness on mental health illness and remove the stigmas associated with it.

The main objectives are:

o          Awareness on the support available in Sunway Campus

o          Decrease stigma (myth debunking)

o          Education for mental health awareness (anxiety, depression and self-care)

o          Encourage help seeking behavior

Project Details (Activities and Tasks)

This campaign will consist of three events; exhibition, main event and workshop. The exhibition will be a platform where the students can express mental health illness through art, creative writing or through digital production. It is open to all Sunway students. The registration will tentatively start on 17th August 2018. The top 10 winners will be selected, and their work will be presented during the exhibition on 19th and 20th September. Participants can vote on the best work on the first day of the exhibition. Based on the votes, the winner will be awarded on 20th September 2018. All the materials will be exhibited in pre-function area. Additionally, few booth games related to positivity and mental health will be conducted with the exhibition.

The exhibition will be held together with the main event called “Walk in my shoes”. In this event, the participants will be walking through series of mini-rooms in a dimly lit gallery. Pre-recorded voice over will be narrating the story and will be talking about deep feelings of a person fighting mental health illness from first person perspective. The participants will be guided by a facilitator to different scenarios as the narration plays in the background Each scenario will be set up in a way to help the participant understand a person fighting with mental health illness better. For e. g: When the narrator is talking about the thoughts one has when waking up, the setting will be of a bedroom scene with beds and pillows. The whole program will show how one feels like to struggle with symptoms of mental health illness and how their loved one reacts to it. For example: My parents think that I need to be fixed (how the loved ones want to help) but I just want someone to listen to me (what they actually want).

The whole program will take about 30 minutes for each participant. We’ll be taking in about 10-15 participants per 30 minutes slot. The storyline for narration will be submitted with the proposal.

Lastly, the 2-hour workshop will be conducted by Sunway’s senior counsellor, Mr Raymond on 25th September. It’ll mainly focus on the suicidal symptoms and how one can help their peers with suicidal tendencies. This workshop will provide good opportunities to students to learn about mental health illness from a professional. We’ll also be debunking some myths here.

Apart from this, a social media campaign will be conducted from August until September to share stories of individuals who fought with mental health illnesses. Through this, we want to encourage one to seek help and also to make one feel like they’re not alone.

Expected Project Result & Outcomes

Through this project, we’ll be expecting participants to change their attitude towards mental health illnesses. We hope that they will encourage their loved ones or themselves to seek help and make use of the available resources. We also hope that it will create awareness that mental health illness should not be taken lightly. In addition to that, through out social media campaign, we hope that those who are fighting against social media will feel a sense of companion as well as feel loved and supported. In conclusion, we hope that we’ll create an impact and encourage other clubs and societies to conduct similar events in the future.

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Project Information

University name   :   Sunway University
Project leader name   :   Pratima Tamang
Location of project held   :   Sunway University
Beneficiary   :   General public
Number of beneficiaries   :   About 700 and more participants in total

Section I

Other fundraising efforts

The committees conducted their own fundraising in Sunway Campus and gathered a sum of RM 1000 for the project. Additional monetary support was received from Student Life department of Sunway University and Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA). Materials for the event “Walk in my shoes” were sponsored by Kare Furniture.

Details of Project

Conducted in collaboration with Sunway Counselling and Wellness department of Sunway Campus, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) and Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ), this mental health awareness campaign was held in Sunway University between 19th and 20th of September 2018, with an additional suicide prevention workshop held on 25th of September 2018. Several event, forum and pep talks were conducted under the campaign.

The main event named “Walk in my shoes” was a 10-minute showcase session where participants walked through six mini showrooms. A narration, from first party perspective, was played in background, depicting the thoughts of a person who is struggling with mental health challenges. The narration starts with the beginning of the person’s day, leading to how they go through the day, while constantly wanting to be understood by their loved ones. Each mini showroom is based on the scenario presented by the audio. For example; when the narration talks about how the person doesn’t have energy to get up in the morning, the showroom will be set up as the bedroom with beds, tables, lamp, etc. Similarly, other showrooms were set up as dining room, classroom, study room, living room, etc. The participants were encouraged to listen to the audio carefully and to try to understand the perspective of person with mental health challenges.

Along with the main event, two forums were also conducted with panelists like YB Hannah Yeoh, YB Wong Chen to discuss on the complexities surrounding mental health and suicide. Additionally, creative artwork, open to undergraduate students, with categories poem and poster art was held. The artworks of the winners were exhibited along with the booths of government and non-governmental organization advocating for mental health. Several mini pep talks were held throughout the two day; 19th and 20th of September, to talk about mental health and self-care. 

Bringing a big project to life within a limited time was one of the main challenges that we faced during the whole process. As our committees were students, having their full support during exam period and heavy assignment period was a bit difficult but thanks to their full commitment, it was not a big concern. Funding was also our concern in the initial stage as furniture and props were a big part of our project. However, the support from Kare furniture helped us to tackle this concern.

More than 700 participants took part in our campaign. Although it was open to public, majority of the participants were youth and students as the area of promotion was Sunway Campus. Through the campaign, the participants were able to have a broader understanding of the feeling and thoughts of a person with mental health challenges. Also, the mental health professionals and the rest who took part in the forums were able to directly bring their concern to the panelists to discuss on improving the system to accommodate more resources for person with mental health challenges.

Aligned with the third goal of UN Sustainable goals, good health and well-being, our campaign focused on, often ignored, awareness of mental health. This is one of the biggest awareness campaigns which used creative event to increase the understanding of a person with mental health challenges. Through this, we wanted to initiate the change and encourage more events like this. The success of this event has left a big impact on Sunway community. So, we believe that this will open the pathway to similar events in the future.

Statistics has shown that one in five students go through mental health challenges. And lack of discussion about it due to associated stigmas makes it even worse. We believe that awareness project like ours will help in long term as we continue to work on reducing the stigmas. In short term, it might help some, but continuous efforts are needed to create a society where one will feel comfortable to talk about mental health challenges like any other physical illness.

When working on script of “Walk in my shoes”, continuous feedbacks helped us to make it more realistic, which, personally, widened my perspective on the struggles of a person with mental health challenges. Additionally, the forums conducted with professionals helped us to understand on the type of support we could provide to our loved ones and the type of support we cannot provide. It helped us to understand when to seek for professional help and where can we get it. In overall, I would say it was an enriching experience in my journey towards understanding mental health.

Personal statement

Recovering from mental health challenge is a continuous journey and getting the right kind of help will make it easier. Reaching out for help is not a weakness but, a stigma created by society. Together we can create a society where talking about mental health will not be seen as a taboo because change starts from us. (Pratima Tamang, Project Head)

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