As a result, the National Counselling Seminar organised by Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) in collaboration with Malaysia Universities Career and Counselling Council (MAKUMA), Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Malaysia Counsellor Board and the Public Service Department (JPA) highlighted the growing concern for the need to immediately address the issue of mental health.
With its apt theme "Intervention Counselling - Mental Health" the seminar organised for the 15th time is an annual programme organised by the UUM Counselling Centre. The two-day seminar which began on 8 March 2016 was held at the Perdana Nur Hall, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), Putrajaya.
The seminar which became the best platform for participants to present the results of various studies conducted, showcased five main dimensions in several parallel sessions namely Mental Health, Addiction, Family Counselling, Organisation Counselling and also contemporary, creative and interactive approaches in counselling services.
The closing ceremony was officiated by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Dato' Sri Rohani Abdul Karim.
During the closing ceremony, YB Dato' Sri Rohani Abdul Karim expressed her confidence that the increase in the number of counsellors in both government and private organisations would certainly help in addressing social ills in or outside of the organisation.
“The continuity of Counselling Seminar such as this is the best means to highlight the importance and contribution of counselling services to assist individuals, families and communities in their everyday life.
I fervently hope that the matters discussed in this seminar will further enhance the level of professionalism amongst the counsellors. May all the knowledge gained be applied in counselling management and further extended for the welfare of the self, family, society and country, " she said.
Meanwhile, UUM Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dato' Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, who is the former chairman of the first MAKUMA said that the issue of mental health has spread to all walks of life including professionals and it must be addressed immediately.
"It is important for these groups to be given help because their issues not only affect them but also the surrounding communities will be affected too.
In addition, professional counselling services also become both critical and one of the main tools of social support system to help reduce psychosocial problems in our community today, " he said.
A total of 24 papers were presented at the seminar which was participated by 262 participants from the various public universities (UA), government departments, private sector organisations, Non-Government Organisations (NGO), students from various public universities and interested individuals.
The seminar became a venue for experts in the field of counselling in Malaysia to converge. Dato’ Dr. Abd. Halim bin Mohd. Hussin , Director of Psychological Management Division, Public Service Department (JPA), presented a paper on the issues that destroy the soul of the Malaysian society namely drug addiction, alcohol, gambling, addiction to cyber and internet and smartphone applications.
In addition, a clinical psychologist who is equally impressive in the field of counselling, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Susie See Ching Mey, who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Network Division), Universiti Sains Malaysia also shared her expertise on issues of mental disorder such as trauma, phobias, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, abuse, impulse control borderline, personality disorders, grief, loss, bereavement and suicide.
At the end of the programme, Prof. Emeritus Dato' Dr. Amir Awang, better known as the "Father of Counselling Malaysia" summed up by correlating the issues of mental health counselling as well as the application of theory that can be used by counsellors, psychologists or even counselling officer in providing assistance to individuals who need help.
Also present were the Director General of the Social Welfare Department, Dato' Zulkiply Ramli; Director of the Psychology Department of the Public Service Department; Chairman of MAKUMA cum Deputy Vice- Chancellor of Student Affairs and Alumni Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Prof Abdul Aziz Abdul Latif and UUM Deputy Vice- Chancellor of Student Affairs and Alumni, Assoc. Prof. Dr Abdul Malek Hj Abdul Karim.
Translated by Mahaliza Mahadhir
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