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Master of Counselling Students Community Outreach Project at Orang Asli Sungai Judah Village

Mental health is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Taylor's Master of Counselling students participated in a community outreach at the Orang Asli Sungai Judah Village in Carey Island that was aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3: Good Health and Well-Being. The community outreach was led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zainah binti Ahmad Zamani and Dr. Ahmad Mustaqim bin Yusoff from School of Liberal Arts & Sciences; and Mr. Justin Gerard Victor from School of Media & Communication. This community engagement research is funded by Yayasan Hasanah on the study of "Development, Mental and Physical Health among Orang Asli in Selangor: Pulau Indah and Kuala Langat", which is headed by Dr. Sree Kala Kunju Raman Nair from School of Hospitality, Tourism & Events, as part of the Taylor's Mental Health &Well-being Impact Lab.

The aim of the outreach was to understand the mental health literacy and psychological well-being of the Orang Asli community. Mr. Daiman bin Perun (Tok Batin) greeted the three researchers and Master of Counselling students upon their arrival. The community outreach began at 9.30 a.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m. The team visited more than ten houses to understand the mental health challenges faced by the Orang Asli community. A total of 26 respondents took part in the survey. Three surveys were administered: Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21), Psychological Well-Being Questionnaire, and Social and Lifestyle Development Questionnaire, in which the Orang Asli community was asked to rate their answers to each question.

In addition, interviews were conducted to gain an in-depth understanding of their mental health perceptions, coping strategy implementation and utilization of mental health services. All the Master of Counselling students had the opportunity to conduct the mental health screening. During the mental health screening, they were required to explain the meaning of specific terms used in the questionnaire to ensure that their respondents understood.

As a result of this community engagement, the students gained a greater understanding of the complexity of multiculturalism and insight into the mental health challenges society faces, especially in the Orang Asli community. It also provided an opportunity to instill a sense of community engagement, and the students also acquired real-world experience in addition to classroom learning. Additionally, this initiative is linked to Taylor's Impact Lab on Mental Health and Well-Being, which promotes mental health through policies, best practices and systems that support human flourishing and optimal functioning.


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