AS the topic of mental health intensifies not only in Malaysia but also abroad, HELP University’s Faculty of Behavioural Sciences’ Centre for Psychological and Counselling Services (CPCS) recently organised a forum to engage and discuss the topic of suicide prevention with psychology students at the university.
The panellists consisted of the university’s Bashir Bashardoost and Hasse De Meyer, both from the university’s department of Psychology, and PCS Clinical Psychologist Felicia Shamala while CPCS director Sarah Yung was the event’s moderator.
The forum saw many and varied questions from students on the need to create awareness on mental health and the techniques used in dealing with those at high risk of committing suicide.
Established in 2006 as an outreach programme for staff and students of HELP, along with members of the public to seek help for their mental health problems, the CPCS’ main purpose is to promote psychological and emotional well-being by providing professional counselling and clinical psychotherapy to those in need. The centre also runs workshops and seminars on issues related to emotional health and psychological well-being.
In a year, the centre serves anywhere between 300 - 500 active clients, including members of the public, staff and HELP students. Assessments for special needs children, as well as adults, are also part of the services provided.
The two CPCS centres share four therapists consisting of two clinical psychologists and two counsellors. It also serves as a training ground for those completing their clinical practicum during their Masters in Clinical Psychology course as well as the Masters in Counselling at HELP.
Most of those who register at CPCS are students, and during HELP‘s department orientation for students, CPCS staff usually attend the events and speak to students on the importance of mental health and the avenues available to them should they choose to seek help.
Appointed as the director of CPCS in 2019, Yung said more members of the public were signing up with CPCS, and even HELP students, when they realised how easy it is to gain access to the services offered by the centre.
“The most common problems among students seem to be stress and anxiety, family issues and issues of personal concern such as love, life and friendships,” said Yung.
Over the years CPCS has also been running training programmes and workshops on crisis intervention and training for NGOs and other organisations interested in such specialised programmes.
Dr Gerard J. Louis, CEO of HELP Education Services and Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Education and Languages said HELP University currently houses the largest Department of Psychology in the country.