By UOW Malaysia KDU
It is said that 13% of the world’s population are affected by mental health and substance abuse disorders. In Malaysia alone, 1 in 3 struggle with mental health issues, which are most prevalent amongst teenagers aged 16-19 and low-income families. In response to this great need, UOW Malaysia KDU Students taking the class ‘Public Relations Campaign Skills: Theory and Strategy’ decided to develop a Mental Health Campaign with the slogan “It’s OKAY!”. With an initial plan to launch this initiative in April, at schools like Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Abdul Samad, PJ, and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sri Aman, the students hoped that this initiative would make a significant difference in the lives of teenagers.
In order to understand more about mental health issues, the students reached out to Universiti Malaya’s expert psychiatrist, D Aida Syarinaz, and an Associate Professor from the Department of Early Childhood Education from UPSI, Dr. Loy Chee Luen. Through the guidance of these experts, students learned how to deliver a mental health education campaign through puppetry and by designing/developing characters for a shadow puppet performance.
In the past, shadow puppet performances have frequently been utilized as an effective platform to educate the public about mental health.
While school visits have been postponed to a later date due to the government’s imposition of a movement control order to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, the students are well-prepared to launch the “It’s OKAY!” mental health campaign once the MCO ban is lifted.