According to the World Health Organisation, more than 300 million people worldwide now live with depression. Less than half of those receive treatment because of fear and discrimination arising from stigma and a lack of available services. And Cambodia is no exception. Many people, especially youth, are seen to undergo severe problems of depression.
This seemingly unspoken issue ignited a group of young Cambodians to initiate a workshop centered on the wellbeing of Cambodian youth because there would be no health without mental health. This basically means that mental health is just as important as a person’s physical health. That is why emotional health and wellbeing were highlighted by experts at ‘Untangle: A Mental Health Project Cycle 2019’ held last week at the Prudential Cambodia Life Assurance V Trust Tower.
Aiming to fight against the stigma on mental health and depression that’s considerably widespread in Cambodia society, the workshop provided audience with speeches and panel discussion from the speakers such as clinical psychologist Phol Sophearith and professional therapist Yim Sotheary, who talked about the importance of emotional wellbeing, the causes and effects of depression on the physical health, the common mental health issues that general people should know and what patients should do if they have any of these issues.
‘Untangle: A Mental Health Project’ was created as a platform that encourages youths to expose themselves to small group bonding activities where they can talk about their hidden stories and learn about themselves in a safe space, seek help and tips from mental health experts on how to maintain their mental wellbeing and raise awareness on how to reach out to friends and families.
Nitka, a student at the Institute of Foreign Languages, who attended the event, said, “Mental health is a common problem that happens to everyone and having an opportunity to learn and understand more about it will encourage more people to understand as well as talk more about what depression and mental illness is and also help more people to open up about their mental problems”.
“By joining this workshop I learned so many things about the overall concept of mental wellbeing and the root causes of mental illness. Also, I have known that having depression and seeking for help is not the sign of weakness, but it’s sign of strength because you’re trying to overcome it by seeking for help.”