Written by: Isaac Soong
Edited by: Fajar binti Benjamin
Throughout the “I’m Only Human” Mental Health Awareness & Suicide Prevention event, Sunway Peer Counselling Volunteers (PCV) in conjunction with Sunway Education Counselling and Wellness, Student Life, Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita dan Masyarakat as well as Pejabat Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor Subang Jaya organized many activities themed around mental health awareness. The opening ceremony was officiated by YB Michelle Ng who is the State Assemblywoman of Subang Jaya.
One of the main events was the monologue exhibition. This exhibition was done to educate participants on the issues faced by people suffering through depression through an individual’s perspective. The plot of the monologue was about a girl who suffers from depression and wants everyone around her to understand what she is going through. The monologue allowed participants to walk along the persona’s journey to getting the attention and understanding of her loved ones.
The monologue was organized into stages based on the setting of where the persona was telling her story such as the kitchen, a classroom and her home’s living room. Each stage was arranged to exhibit the setting where the plot took place along with small details that were added to show what the persona did in that setting. For example, whenever she was in the classroom, participants could see the scribbles which indicates what her mind was going through at that time.
For this event, PCV constructed a gimmick in which participants listened to the persona’s story in her perspective by using a MP3 player and a pair of headphones. Participants were then guided by arrows and a few PCV members to each stage. At every stage, participants were told to play the audio based on which stage they were in. Whenever the audio is finished, a recorded bell was rung in the MP3 player which signalled the participants to pause the player and move on to the next stage.
Once participants reached the final stage, they were greeted by a PCV member who lead them into a room in which they played a short video summarizing the purpose of this event. The video showed clips of Dr. Elizabeth Lee and YB Michelle Ng who gave their perspective on what is mental health and why it is important to be aware of the issue. After that, participants were given a feedback form for them to comment on the monologue before being led towards the exit.
Overall, this monologue helped to educate the public on what people suffering from mental health issues are going through and what we can do to help them.
Another feature of the I’m Only Human Campaign was an exhibition at Sunway University to showcase the creative interpretations of mental health issues by students of Sunway.
Weeks before the “I’m Only Human” event, PCV held a creative art contest which encouraged students to submit photographs, artworks and creative poetry that reflected upon any mental health issues. The contest also allowed participants to showcase their creative prowess based on the premise of mental health. The contest was held for about a month and ended just two weeks before the event started.
During the exhibition, all the submissions collected from the contest were showcased based on the respective categories. The artworks that were exhibited showed many vibrant and dark colors which represented the ideas of the artworks. They also tackled the artists’ interpretations on mental health issues such as depression and schizophrenia. The creative poetry category showcased the authors’ perspective on mental health. They used the power of words to educate the public on the many issues that some people faced every day.
Since it was a contest, some of the submissions that were displayed were marked to indicate that it was chosen as the winner for each category. The winners were given prizes at a later date.
Opposite from the exhibition, there were booths set up by organizations to help out on the occasion. One of them provided counselling sessions for anyone who was interested while another passed out pamphlets that discussed certain mental health issues.
Overall, this exhibition event showed the passersby a wide range of mental health issues through eye-catching and interesting creative art. With over 300 participants attending the monologue and 500 passing through the exhibitions, not to mention the full house when carrying out the mental health forums, this is definitely a standout event in 2018.