In conjunction with UN International Day of Families 2017 running on the theme ‘Families, Education and Well-Being’, Family Wellness Club Ipoh held a public forum on Monday, May 15 at the Old Andersonian Club.

Three panelists spoke at the three-hour forum. They were Celine Chung Lai Keng, Assoc Professor Dr Rajinder Singh and Solehah Ahmad Baijuri. Some 50 participants were in attendance.

Celine, the director of Distance-Care Healthcare Management Consultancy Ltd, spoke on, “Caring and Caregiving for Our Loved Ones”. She was trained in nursing, midwifery, counselling and public health.

According to Celine, who has 30 years of experience in aged-care management, taking care of the elderly is much different today than previously.

Family Wellness Club Ipoh“In the past, the aged were cared for by their younger relatives until they died. Today it’s a norm for us to visit our loved ones only on special occasions such as during festivals and birthdays,” she remarked. This is due to several factors such as better education, urbanisation, economic prosperity and individual-lifestyle choices.

Consultant Psychiatrist for Faculty of Medicine of UniKL Royal College of Medicine Perak, Assoc. Professor Dr Rajinder Singh, in his talk titled, “Handling the Increase in Mental Health Problems”, said that the loss of spouse, divorce, separation and death of close family members are the top-ranked life events that cause depression.

Rajinder, who was once the Head of Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh, added that unsolved family problems can also lead some to suffer from mental anguish.

The common mental health problems in Malaysia, attributed to family problems, are depression, anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, drugs, alcoholism and severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and split personality.

Family Wellness Club Ipoh“The causes of these problems are classified under two factors namely, extrinsic and intrinsic. For extrinsic, there are the physical factors (infections, injury and intoxication) and psycho-social factors such as stress, socio-cultural and family conflicts. For intrinsic, the causes are genetic factors (specific genes, chromosomal, biochemical) and constitutional factors,” he explained.

A credit counsellor at the Ipoh Counselling and Debt Management Agency, Solehah Ahmad Baijuri, advised those who are in debt to come to her office for assistance.

“Everyone is welcome to seek counselling anytime. The service is free. We’ll help to find solutions to your financial woes via our on-going programmes, as we’re an agency of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). We can get BNM to reduce your bank loans if you’re a bankrupt. Financial problems affect the happiness of a family. Don’t run from your problems, as there are ways to overcome them.

“Counselling and advice are not for those with financial problems alone, those without problems too can visit us. You can check on your credit rating through the Central Credit Reference Information System. That’s the other service we provide,” she added.

Nabilah Hamudin