Cover Azran Osman Rani, Dr Amer Siddiq and Tengku Iman Afzan (Photo credit: @imanabdullah/Instagram)

Get to know the local champions of mental health awareness who are leading by example

Prince William, Lady Gaga and Cara Delevingne are just some of the big names speaking up on mental health. They aim to de-stigmatise the oft misunderstood health condition, and spur silent sufferers to speak out and seek help. They have also inspired more passionate individuals and organisations to come forward and support the cause. In conjunction with World Mental Health Day on Oct 10, we take a closer look at the Malaysian influencers, organisations and platforms that have lent their support and knowledge about mental health. 

1. Azran Osman Rani, Founder Of Naluri

The 2018 Tatler Ball Entrepreneur Par Excellence awardee isn’t only an astute businessman and book author: Naluri, his tech start-up business, was founded as part of a mental healthcare initiative. The former iflix group COO is just as passionate speaking about mental health as he is about competing in an Ironman race. Azran's start-up specialises in a digital treatment programme customised to varying emotional, mental and physical needs. Stablising depression, anxiety and stress levels are integral in Naluri’s pledge to instil mental resilience among its clients.

2. Dr Amer Siddiq, Psychiatry Specialist

The associate professor of psychiatry at University of Malaya wears a few hats: consultant psychiatrist, mental health advocate and host of his own podcast discussing #mentalhealthawareness. Dr Amer is also a specialist in nicotine addiction and is well-versed with tips on handling suicide and mental conditions. The Generation T honouree posts regularly on and collaborates with industry experts to bring knowledge and materials to the afflicted.

3. Tengku Iman Afzan, Royal Patron Of Mental Health

The British royals are not the only ones known for their mental health advocacy - we have our very own royal ambassador in the form of Tengku Iman Afzan, patron of the Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (Miasa). Besides her praise for Miasa’s patient-led group therapy, the princess recently revealed her own battle with anxiety as a teen, and gave pointers on how others can identify and treat their condition, with emphasis on a solid support system.  

4. Relate Malaysia, Online Therapy Platform

As a mental health awareness platform, Relate has a wealth of information, from understanding the illness to types of therapy. For those who wants to seek help, there is a list of hospitals offering treatments. Alternatively, you can sign up for its own affordable online psychotherapy.

See also: How To Meditate & Observe Mindfulness Daily, According To Psychotherapist Lena Franklin

5. Andre Gan, Wong & Partners bAgile Initiative

The corporate workplace is notoriously stressful, and Andre Gan, the managing partner of the award-winning law firm Wong & Partners, has taken it upon himself to safeguard his staff's wellbeing. At a mental health masterclass by Lean In Malaysia, Andre shared insights and his approach to mental health and wellness at the workplace. To ensure employee health and happiness, Andre spoke about his firm’s bAgile work-life initiative, an internal policy that formalises flexible working arrangements.

6. Kharina K, Malaysian Influencer

Influencers on Instagram are often given flak for setting unrealistic standards, but for Kharina K, she isn’t afraid to show the ‘uglier’ side of a seemingly perfect life to over 98k of her followers when she broke her dreamy feed with a video of herself suffering a major panic attack. The fashionista expressed an obligation to turn that episode into a constructive one, as a means to reach out to those afflicted with the illness as well as their loved ones, which got the online community’s attention and praise.  

7. SOLS Health, Mental Health Service Provider

Individual, family and community mental health is the forefront of SOLS Health. By making mental health services accessible and affordable, the group laid the foundation for physical and personal wellness. SOLS Health also has a goal to normalise mental healthcare by offering a wide range of dedicated services, including early childhood intervention solutions, couples and family therapy, career counselling, and an informative blog resources.

See also: How 8 Decision-Makers Commit To New Habits

8. #PwCWellbeing, PwC Corporate Programme

PwC Malaysia implemented a programme encouraging health, happiness and productivity in 2015. The campaign has since evolved into #PwCWellbeing which encompasses a healthy body, mind and heart, most notably through a flex+ policy of flexible working arrangements encouraging quality time outside of work. From time to time, PwC organises mindfulness classes, self-awareness workshops and fun activities to reboot mental wellbeing.

See also: 10 Visionary Industry Leaders Reveal Their Roadmaps To #BalanceForBetter

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