Heriot-Watt Makes Positive Mental Health Its Mission

Heriot-Watt Makes Positive Mental Health Its Mission
From left: HWUM Chief Operating Officer and Registrar Janice Yew, HWUM Provost and Chief Executive Officer Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi, GRG Founder and President Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah and GRG Co-Founder and Vice President Puteri Nor Ariane Yasmin during the MoU Signing at HWUM’s Putrajaya Campus

Putrajaya, 9 June 2022 – Mental health issues are on the rise and will require early intervention.
In view of this, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia and the Green Ribbon Group are joining forces to empower youth to promote positive mental health.

The two partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the University’s Putrajaya campus today (9 June 2022) to formalise their collaborative effort to conduct a 1.5-day training programme called The Green Ribbon Effective Agent Training (GREAT) Project which is set to kick-start in October 2022.

The MoU signatories were HWUM Provost and Chief Executive Officer Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi and GRG Founder and President Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah. Also present as witness signatories were HWUM Chief Operating Officer and Registrar, Janice Yew and GRG Co-Founder and Vice President Puteri Nor Ariane Yasmin.

Through The GREAT Project, both parties aim to create and mobilise community champions among youth, known as Green Ribbon Ambassadors. A total of 30 ambassadors will be equipped with mental health literacy to raise awareness of mental health among their peers. This includes breaking down mental health stigma, providing interim support to their peers and designing their own mental health advocacy campaigns.

In his welcome address, HWUM Provost and Chief Executive Officer Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi says,“In addition to sharing common values and purpose, HWUM and GRG also share a passion to promote mental wellness and resilience through Positive Education among our youth.

Alleviate mental health stigma

He says this collaborating with GRG will help to alleviate mental health stigma and promote the importance of mental well-being, especially among the younger generation who have been through challenging times over the past few years.

“It is our collective duty to nurture purpose-driven leaders who are equipped with skills and attitudes that will enable them to flourish in a highly uncertain and increasingly complex world,” he adds.

GRG Founder and President YAM Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah says the University’s focus on Positive Education is one “that I very much support.”

She says her team had the privilege of having Professor Mushtak enlighten the group about Positive Education during an Impact Workshop in November last year.

“It was refreshing to hear someone speak about the importance of happiness, emotional intelligence, and instilling a sense of purpose in students. It became apparent to me very quickly that Heriot-Watt University and the Green Ribbon Group share similar values and a deep understanding of the duty of care that we have towards our youth.”

HWUM and GRG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the University’s Putrajaya campus today (9 June 2022) to formalise their collaborative effort to conduct a 1.5-day training programme called The Green Ribbon Effective Agent Training (GREAT) Project which is set to kick-start in October 2022.

The GREAT Project is also in line with the University’s annual flagship event, the Global Happiness Forum, and ‘A Happier U’ initiative that promote Heriot-Watt University’s happiness agenda and the importance of positive mental health and well-being of its global #OneWatt community.

In March 2022, HWUM and GRG organised a roundtable session with students and staff of the University on mental health. Moderated by Marsya Shamshul Bahari, Advocacy & Programmes Executive at GRG, the roundtable gathered opinions and experiences on three topics:

(i) the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions to daily life

(ii) mental health awareness and the experience of stigma amongst university students; and (iii) peer support and the importance of having a strong support system.

Mental health matters

The unprecedented nature of the pandemic led to sudden shifts in everyday activities. During the pandemic, many students and staff reported an increase in anxiety and sense of entrapment. To ensure that students can progress their studies despite the challenging situation, the University implemented its Responsive Blended Learning. The lack of physical interactions made the creation of a sense of community challenging. All Year One students were put in digital Impact Statement Groups where participants discovered their sense of purpose and developed a sense of belonging.

The pandemic also brought positive side effects. These include more awareness and acceptance of mental wellness among university students and more support towards one another on social media. Generally, tertiary students seem to be more receptive towards reaching out and checking in with one another. A report based on these findings will be published by GRG in 2023.