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Published by Afterschool.my on Sep 06, 2022, 04:06 pm
Mental health, you hear it everywhere nowadays; when you tune in to your local radio station, mental health reminders help you through your morning blues. On social media, people actively discuss their experiences with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, in the process generating tons of engagement. Logic's hit song 1-800-273-8255 centres on suicide prevention, and celebrities like Selena Gomez established her makeup brand Rare Beauty around mental health destigmatisation.
It's apparent that the topic of mental health is now more widely talked about compared to how it was decades ago. For Claudia, Psychology has always been something that she was interested in ever since she was a teenager. “During high school, I noticed that some of my peers were going through difficult times, but we grew up in an environment that promoted strength and regarded vulnerability as a sign of weakness. Therefore, most of us learned to mask our emotions and cope with distractions. Since then, I've wanted to be able to provide a safe space for individuals to address their struggles.”
Based on the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, nearly 500,000 Malaysians were already feeling symptoms of depression before the pandemic started. With Gen-Z being a more vocal generation about mental health, it encourages individuals to identify their symptoms and reach out for therapy.
“During the pandemic, many of us are dealing with various forms of grief; the loss of loved ones, losing jobs, the uncertainties of different aspects of life and many more unexpected changes. We were forced to isolate ourselves, which might be detrimental for certain individuals to cope when they are alone with their thoughts for long periods. The widespread mental health awareness messages through social media helped struggling individuals relate with one another, helping them feel less alone in their different experiences. Thus, the community's snowball effect of mental health well-being and advocacy gradually destigmatises the idea of seeking therapy.”
Having finished her Bachelor's in Psychology at HELP University, Claudia decided to further her education and took a master's programme to expand her field of knowledge.
“Back then, I heard from my peers and seniors that HELP University was well known for its psychology degree, equipped with quality lecturers and resources that catered to the needs of the students academically. So, after I finished my degree, I enrolled in the master's programme, which offered both internal and external practicum sites. The teachers were tremendously helpful throughout the practicum semesters and gave us, interns, a steep learning curve with guided supervision.”
During Claudia's time as a student, one of the most memorable moments was a role-playing exercise in which the students experienced what active listening sounds like as a therapist, client, and observer.
Help University allows Claudia and her batch mates to learn Psychology thoroughly with the addition of societies dedicated to Psychology subjects, like the Child Development Psychology Club
Claudia claims that the theories she learnt during her studies helped her gain more self-awareness and the ability to relate to others. “The knowledge of many different theoretical frameworks on human behaviour and development opens up my view of the real world, with the awareness that no one theory fits everyone, as human beings are complex and complicated. As a result, this allowed me to have empathy and to be more curious and understanding of people instead of making assumptions.”
Now a clinical psychologist at a private counselling and therapy centre in Malaysia called Mindwell, Claudia has gained a much-elevated understanding of the human mind and behaviour. However, she adds, “There's no limit to understanding the human mind and behaviour as we are constantly changing and evolving.”
She also admits that the best part about her job is providing her clients a safe space to be vulnerable, and seeing them take small steps and changes for themselves, eventually improving their quality of life.
“Mental health is as important as physical health, as the mind and body are connected. Neglecting mental health and only focusing on physical health is equivalent to giving your car polish on the outside, but neglecting its servicing.”
Many people are still afraid to seek therapy, even when their inner souls give out silent, desperate cries for help. While fear can cause you to abstain from reaching out, there are those among us who are also going through similar issues and can be your beacon of hope in assisting you through the darkness.
Claudia reminds everyone, “If you have someone you trust, reach out and speak to them. If the suffering is too overwhelming and unbearable, it is okay to reach out for professional help to support you through the struggle you're experiencing. It will take a lot of courage to do it, but that will be a big step that can ease your pain little by little. Suffering from mental illness doesn't mean you are weak or abnormal, remember that at the end of the day, you're only human."
If you're interested in further exploring the depths of the human mind and behaviour, you can click here to learn more about the Bachelor of Psychology at HELP University.
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